CMS has proposed two additional hardship exemptions for its electronic prescribing incentive program, Health Data Management reports.

The two new hardship exemptions are part of a proposed rule that would establish the Medicare physician fee schedule for 2013 (Goedert, Health Data Management, 8/2).

New Exemptions

The new proposed rule would extend the e-prescribing hardship exemptions to certain eligible professionals and group practices participating in the meaningful use program for the first time (Health Data management, 8/2). Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health record systems can qualify for Medicare and/or Medicaid incentive payments.

In the proposed rule, CMS wrote, “We have received feedback from stakeholders requesting significant hardship exemptions from application of the [e-prescribing] payment adjustment based on participation in the [meaningful use] incentive program, a program which requires a certain level of electronic prescribing activity.”

The agency added, “As a result of such feedback, we believe that in certain circumstances it may be a significant hardship for eligible professionals and group practices who are participants of the [meaningful use] incentive program to comply with the successful electronic prescriber requirements of the [e-prescribing] incentive program” (Modern Physician, 8/3).

Therefore, the two new hardship exemptions would apply to eligible health care providers who:

  • ¬†Attest to meaningful use during certain payment adjustment reporting periods for the e-prescribing program; or
  • ¬†Show their intent to adopt a certified EHR system by registering for the meaningful use program (Health Data Management, 8/2).