The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has issued a final rule making changes to Medicare's Electronic Prescribing Incentive program. The rule is available here and was published in the Federal Register on Sept. 6.

As expected, CMS has finalized a proposal to better align the eRx Incentive program with the electronic health record meaningful use incentive program. Under the final rule, EHRs that have received meaningful use certification are deemed to qualify for the eRx Incentive program.

The new rule also finalizes ways for providers to get a "hardship exemption" from the eRx program to avoid reimbursement penalties for non-participation. For instance, an eligible professional who has registered to participate in the Medicare or Medicaid EHR incentive programs and has adopted certified EHR technology can request a hardship exemption from the eRx program.

Even if an eligible professional practices in a state where the Medicaid EHR incentive program is not yet fully implemented, the EP can still register for the program and then seek an exemption from the eRx program.

The deadline for submitting hardship exemption requests, detailed in the final rule, is Nov. 1, 2011.


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