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Important Update on 2013 Electronic Prescribing Payment Adjustment Hardship Exemptions

On November 1, CMS finalized two new electronic prescribing (eRx) significant hardship exemption categories pertaining to the EHR Medicare and Medicaid Incentive Program in the 2013 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Rule.

Specifically, these hardship exemptions categories are:

  • Eligible professionals who achieve meaningful use during certain eRx timeframes. For the 2013 eRx payment adjustment, this will include any eligible professional who achieved meaningful use during January 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012 and has attested to this by January 31, 2013.
  • Eligible professionals who demonstrate intent to participate in the EHR Incentive Program and adoption of Certified EHR Technology by registering for the EHR Incentive Program by January 31, 2013. Please note: EHR Incentive Program participants must provide their entire EHR Certification Number in the CMS EHR Certification ID field during registration to receive this hardship.

Eligible professionals do not need to apply for these 2 EHR-related hardship exemptions through the Quality Reporting Communication Support web page (Communication Support Page). They only need to register or attest for the EHR Incentive Program by January 31, 2013. However, if an eligible professional previously registered for the EHR Incentive Program but did not supply the EHR Certification Number for their EHR product at that time, and has not since achieved meaningful use, they need to go back and add that piece of information to their registration before January 31, 2013.

Register and attest for the EHR Incentive Program. For questions relating to participation in the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Program, please contact EHR Incentive Program Information Center at 888-734-6433 (TTY 888-734-6563.)

As a reminder, CMS re-opened the Communication Support Page to allow individual eligible professionals and CMS-selected group practices the opportunity to request a significant hardship exemption for the 2013 eRx payment adjustment. Significant hardship requests should be submitted via the Communication Support Page on or between November 1, 2012 and January 31, 2013. Please remember that CMS will review these requests on a case-by-case basis. All decisions on significant hardship exemption requests will be final. The following eRx hardship exemption categories are available for request on the Communication Support Page:

  • Inability to electronically prescribe due to state, or federal law, or local law or regulation;
  • The eligible professional prescribes fewer than 100 prescriptions during a 6–month payment adjustment reporting period;
  • The eligible professional practices in a rural area without sufficient high-speed Internet access (G8642); and
  • The eligible professional practices in an area without sufficient available pharmacies for electronic prescribing (G8643).

To be assured that we receive your hardship exemption request, it must be summated through the Communication Support Page by 11:59pm ET on January 31, 2013.

Important—please note that this is for the 2013 eRx payment adjustment only. Hardship exemption requests for the 2014 payment adjustment will be accepted during a separate timeframe later in calendar year 2013.

Eligible professionals who experience difficulties accessing the Communication Support Page or have questions about the eRx Incentive Program should contact the QualityNet Help Desk at 866-288-8912 or qnetsupport@sdps.org. The help desk is available Monday through Friday from 7am through 7pm CT.

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