More relief sought
Waivers for e-rx program fall short, providers say
Additional hardship waivers and an extended deadline for the federal e-prescribing program have done little to mitigate long-standing provider concerns with the program. Final rules the CMS issued last week tweak the Electronic Prescribing Incentive Program, which creates financial incentives and penalties to encourage digital prescriptions from healthcare providers in Medicare.
The changes come in response to provider complaints that the program punishes clinicians who are either logistically unable to participate or already are participating in a similar federal program with different requirements. The new exemptions to the program’s penalty phase apply to physicians participating in the Medicare or Medicaid EHR incentive programs and to providers who perform “limited” prescribing, among others.
Allowing the large number of providers who are not expected to participate in the program for a variety of reasons to escape its Medicare payment penalty provisions is “a step in the right direction,” said Anders Gilberg, senior vice president of government affairs at the Medical Group Management Association.
However, requiring physicians who participate in the EHR incentive program to seek hardship waivers places an unnecessary burden on them, Gilberg said, because the