On November 1st CMS extended the time period for eligible professionals to request a hardship exemption under the e-Prescribing Incentive Program. Those eligible professionals that have made at least 10 electronic prescriptions (eRx) between January 1, 2012-June 30, 2012 (for certain CPT codes) will not be subject to the Medicare penalties, and those that have prescribed 25 in 2012 will receive an incentive payment under the program (unless they are receiving the Medicare EHR Incentive Program incentives). However, there are some eligible professionals that due to “hardships” cannot participate in this program, and CMS acknowledges should not be penalized. Current hardship exemption categories include:
1. The inability to e-prescribe due to local, State or Federal law or regulation.
2. Providers that prescribe fewer than 100 prescriptions between January 1st and June 30, 2012.
3. Providers practicing in a rural area without sufficient high speed internet access.
4. Providers practicing in an area without sufficient available pharmacies for eRx.
To apply for a hardship exemption click here. CMS has added the following two new hardship exemption request categories:
5. 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.
6. 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.
For these last two hardship exemption categories, eligible professionals do not have to apply through the Communications Support Page. But instead must register and attest for the EHR Incentive Program by January 1, 2013.
If you have questions regarding the eRx program please contact Elana Zana.