The Washington, D.C.-based American Medical Association (AMA) and 103 state and specialty medical societies urged the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to revise the Medicare e-prescribing penalty policy in a letter sent to HHS Secretary Sebelius. This policy, which would penalize physicians in 2012 if they don’t e-prescribe in the first six months of 2011, will hurt efforts to implement widespread health IT adoption among physician practices and cause them to take on needless financial and administrative burdens.
“The last minute decision to require e-prescribing in 2011 will force physicians to spend additional financial and administrative resources to purchase e-prescribing software that most of them will end up discarding when they transition to a complete EHR system,” said AMA Board Secretary Steven J. Stack, M.D.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has said that physicians cannot receive incentives from both the Medicare e-prescribing incentive program and the Medicare EHR incentive program simultaneously. However, if physicians choose not to participate in the 2011 e-prescribing program, they will face penalties in 2012 and 2013. Not aligning these programs will ultimately delay physicians’ efforts to adopt a complete EHR.