MGMA to CMS: Extend e-prescribing deadline to December

 

The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) has asked the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to delay the reporting and hardship exemption deadline in CMS' e-prescribing program from June 30 to Dec. 31, 2012. Under current regulations, eligible providers who fail to show that they wrote at least 10 prescriptions electronically by June 30 will have their Medicare payments trimmed 1.5 percent next year.

MGMA also would like CMS to reduce the burden on practices by allowing eligible professionals who attest to Meaningful Use to meet CMS' e-prescribing and Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) requirements automatically.

In a letter to CMS Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner, MGMA CEO Susan Turney said that her members have had difficulty understanding how to avoid e-prescribing penalties because the requirements and time frames change each year. For example, last year, providers had until Nov. 8 to apply for hardship exemptions, but this year they must do so by June 30.

Besides extending the compliance deadline, MGMA asked CMS to:

  • Institute a formal appeals process that allows providers to contest past and future CMS decisions affecting e-prescribing rewards, penalties and exemptions
  • Allow batch submissions of e-prescribing hardship exemption requests
  • Provide timely feedback to providers and practices regarding EP success in the e-prescribing program.

The American Medical Association (AMA) has also pushed back hard against CMS' e-prescribing regulations. Just two weeks ago, while reminding physicians about the June 30 deadline, AMA President Cecil Wilson said doctors were not being given enough time to comply with the requirements. Last year, the AMA and 91 specialty societies criticized CMS' proposed rules, saying there was insufficient time for physicians to avoid the 2012 penalty. This year, some physicians were penalized despite having applied for hardship exemptions by last year's deadline.

To learn more:
- read the MGMA letter
- see the AMA announcement

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