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Final CMS e-prescribing rule eases requirements

More physicians and practices can expect to avoid cuts in Medicare payments now that CMS has softened e-prescribing rules. In its final rule, published in the Federal Register at the end of August, CMS added new "significant hardship" exemptions, agreed to exempt those practices that are already meaningful users of certified electronic health records (EHR), and extended the deadline to apply for those exceptions by one month to November 1, 2011, for the 2012 payment adjustment. A 1% cut in fees for those who are not successful ­e-prescribers will begin in 2012. Providers also face a potential 1.5% and 2% cut for 2013 and 2014, respectively.