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Medicare 2014 e-Rx penalty deadline nears

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted May 27, 2013

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Physicians have until June 30 to stop a 2014 payment penalty by reporting electronic prescribing activity or applying for a hardship exemption to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

More than 135,000 physicians and health professionals saw their Medicare payments reduced by 1% in 2012, and 80% of those individuals did not attempt to e-prescribe at all, according to the latest data from CMS. The 2014 e-prescribing penalty will lower pay by 2% when a physician does not meet program criteria by June 30.

Eligible physicians and health professionals can stop the penalty by meeting one of the exclusion criteria. For instance, a successful e-prescriber earning a bonus in 2012 will not be penalized in 2014. A physician also can report to CMS at least 10 e-prescriptions by using the code G8553 on claims for Medicare services by June 30.

Eligible professionals may file a hardship exemption at a CMS contractor website to stop the penalty before the deadline. Hardship exemptions are for physicians who are prohibited by law from e-prescribing certain medicines, order fewer than 100 prescriptions through the first six months of 2013, or practice in a rural area without sufficient high-speed Internet access or in an area without sufficient available pharmacies accepting paperless prescriptions. The hardship exemption website is available online (link).

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