Catch-22 in the two eRx incentive programs
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. That is the situation that many providers find themselves in with relation to two current CMS eRx initiatives that include incentives and penalties.
The 2008 MIPPA (Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act ) legislation authorized CMS to provide incentives of up to 2 % of generated Medicare Part B payments for providers that met e-prescribing requirments. The penalty side of the equation includes a 1 % penalty for 2012 Medicare payments for Medicare providers who do not send at least 10 ePrescriptions between January 1-June 30th 2011. So as it now stands an EP could meet Stage 1 Meaningful Use for 2011 (which includes eRx functionality) and receive incentives but still fall short of the MIPPA requirements and face financial penalties.
Since the deadline (June 30, 2011) is rapidly approaching to meet eRx requirements and forestall penalties, there is an aggressive plan underway to harmonize the two incentive/penalty programs that touch on eRx. CMS has issued a proposed rule to align the MIPAA eRx program with the CMS EHR Incentive program and give EPs who meet 2011 Meaningful Use the ability to claim an exemption to the eRx penalties. This proposed rule was issued on June 1st.
Hopefully, this can be resolved quickly and remove the cloud of uncertainty and potential penalties currently hanging over the majority of physicians who received Medicare reimbursement.
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