The Medical Group Management Association is urging federal officials to modify the electronic prescribing incentive program payment process to avoid unfairly penalizing eligible professionals and to harmonize the process with the electronic health records meaningful use program.

"We believe that failure to do so will have the unintended consequence of subjecting a significant number of e-prescribing EPs to payment adjustments in 2012 and 2013," the association said in a March 15 letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

The e-prescribing program requires EPs to report successful transmission on claims of at least 10 electronic prescriptions within the first six months of 2011 to avoid a 1 percent Medicare payment cut in 2012, and submit 25 e-prescriptions by the end of 2011 to avoid another cut in 2013. However, EPs cannot collect incentives from the e-prescribing and meaningful use programs in the same year.

"This makes it possible for an EP to earn incentives through the EHR incentive program but still be penalized through the e-prescribing program for submitting the same number of e-prescriptions," MGMA noted in its letter to Sebelius. "This lapse in coordination is not only problematic for EPs, it undermines the work CMS has done towards improving efficiency and promoting health information technology.

Among other remedies, MGMA is asking the government to not impose e-prescribing penalties in 2012 or 2013 on EPs that have attested to meeting Stage 1 meaningful use criteria during any 90-day reporting period in 2011. Full text of the letter to Sebelius is available here.

--Joseph Goedert


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