CMS wants improper eRx payments back

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) wants to recover improper payments made through its Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and the Electronic Prescribing Incentive (eRx) Program, according to a notice published in the Federal Register.

It cites problems with data integrity, such as rejected and improper payments, and plans a four-year project to comb back through its records and also will look for recommendations for avoiding such issues in the future.

"Data submission, processing and reporting will be analyzed for potential errors, inconsistencies and gaps that are related to data handling, program requirements, and clinical quality measure specifications," the notice reads.

CMS plans to survey 400 group practices, registries and vendors annually, and interview a select number about the programs.

Publication of the notice on Monday starts a 60-day comment period that ends May 16.

Adoption of e-prescribing continues to grow through the federal incentive programs. In 2012, about 69 percent of physicians used e-prescribing. A record 788 million prescriptions (44 percent) were routed electronically in 2012, up from 570 million (36 percent) in 2011, according to Surescripts' annual National Progress Report and Safe-Rx Rankings.

A New York state law creating a prescription-monitoring database has been touted as reducing doctor-shopping for painkillers by 25 percent. That law requires that providers e-prescribe all drugs by March 2015.

The American College of Physicians (ACP) is calling for a similar effort nationally to help curb the growing problem of prescription drug abuse.

To learn more:
- find the notice