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209K docs at risk for e-prescribing penalties

InformationWeek, June 2, 2011

Unbeknownst to many medical practices, as many as 209,000 physicians and other healthcare providers may already be in line for a 1% Medicare payment reduction in 2012 for not writing prescriptions electronically. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is looking at claims for the first six months of 2011 to determine who will be penalized starting next year. The 2008 Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act instituted a Medicare e-prescribing program that pays small incentives to doctors who write at least 10% of their prescriptions electronically, with some exceptions. The bonus was 2% of eligible Medicare Part B charges in 2009-10, 1% in 2011-12, and 0.5% in 2013. But deductions for noncompliance start at 1% in 2012, then climb to 1.5% in 2013 and 2% in 2014. The law did permit CMS to start measuring e-prescribing levels prior to 2012 for the purpose of determining who is subject to the penalties in 2012. The agency chose January-June 2011.