Medicare is taking new steps to speed the adoption of electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) by offering incentive payments to physicians and other eligible professionals who use the technology.
Beginning in 2009, and during the next four years, Medicare will provide incentive payments to eligible professionals who are ‘successful’ electronic prescribers. Eligible professionals will receive a 2 percent incentive payment in 2009 and 2010; a 1 percent incentive payment in 2011 and 2012; and a one half percent incentive payment in 2013.
Beginning in 2012, eligible professionals who are ‘not successful’ electronic prescribers will receive a reduction in payment. Eligible professionals may be exempted from the reduction in payment, on a case-by-case basis, if it is determined that compliance would result in ‘significant hardship.’
Medicare is expected to save up to $156 million over the five-year course of the program in avoided adverse drug events. It’s been estimated that Medicare beneficiaries experience as many as 530,000 adverse drug events every year, contributed to in part by negative interactions with other drugs, or a prescriber’s lack of information about a patient’s medication history.