CMS to pay incentives for e-prescribing adoption

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CMS pushing docs toward e-prescribing. Source: ABC News  

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) will provide incentive payments to eligible healthcare professionals who are e-prescribing, granting a 2 percent incentive payment in 2009 and 2010; a 1 percent incentive payment in 2011 and 2012; and a one half percent incentive payment in 2013. 

The incentive initiative will begin in 2009, and continue throughout the next four years.

Beginning in 2012, the agency said that eligible professionals who are not successful e-prescribers will receive a reduction in payment. Eligible professionals may be exempted from the reduction in payment on a case-by-case basis, if it is determined that compliance would result in significant hardship.

CMS said the agency is expected to save up to $156 million over the five-year course of the program in avoided adverse drug events. According to Medicare’s estimates, its beneficiaries experience as many as 530,000 adverse drug events every year, contributed to in part by negative interactions with other drugs, or a prescriber’s lack of information about a patient’s medication history.

According to the Institute of Medicine, more than 1.5 million Americans are injured each year by drug errors. To combat the errors, CMS said that e-prescribing can help deliver safer, more efficient care to patients.