CMS offers incentive for e-prescribing
The two percent incentive is meant to ease the transition to e-prescribing. Image Source: Government Technology  
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is offering an incentive for physicians to trade in their prescription pads for electronic means to prescribe drugs online for their Medicare patients.

The initiative is included in the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule for 2009, and physicians who use e-prescribing systems to transmit prescriptions to pharmacies may earn an incentive payment of 2 percent of their total Medicare allowed charges during 2009, according to the agency. The incentive is in addition to a 2 percent incentive payment for physicians who report measures under the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI).

The intiative also temporarily eliminated a deep cut scheduled for physician payments in 2009, replacing the cut with a 1.1 percent update through 2009.
“Securing full physician adoption of e-prescribing as soon as possible is critical to improving safety, savings, and quality in our healthcare system,” according to the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA), which represents pharmacy benefit managers.

CMS described the capabilities required of a qualified e-prescribing system as:
  • enabling the physician to communicate with the patient’s pharmacy;
  • helping the physician identify appropriate drugs and provide information on lower cost alternatives for the patient;
  • providing information on formulary and tiered formulary medications; and
  • generating alerts about possible adverse events, such as improper dosing, drug-to-drug interactions, or allergy concerns.