The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released its proposed Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) final rule for calendar year 2013. Among other potential changes outlined in the rule are two new “hardship exemptions” to the electronic prescribing (eRx) incentive program.
CMS admits that physicians may have a hard time meeting both eRx and meaningful use of electronic medical records (EMR) requirements; therefore, in 2013 and 2014, CMS proposes not to penalize eligible professionals (EPs) or group practices who do not meet eRx requirements as long as they achieve meaningful EMR use. CMS also proposes to exempt from eRx requirement EPs and groups who show intent to participate in the EHR incentive program. The EP or group would have to register for either the Medicare or the Medicaid incentive program and would have to adopt certified EHR technology by a date that CMS will specify.
A revised PQRS program “includes simplified, lower burden options for reporting,” according to CMS. The agency also intends to post Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) data supplied by group practices, and by accountable care organizations (ACOs) participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program, beginning in 2014. Per the proposed rule, the minimum number of patients who must be included in each measure would be lowered to 20 (from the current 25). In the future, CMS wants to post patient experience data on physicians who participate in PQRS.
The proposed rule will be published in the July 30 Federal Register. CMS will accept comments on the proposed rule until Sep. 04, 2012. A Final Rule with comment period will be issued by Nov. 1, 2012.
Tags: EHR Incentives