Law will boost e-prescribing, HHS secretary says

Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said today he expects the e-prescribing incentives and penalties in the Medicare bill passed this month to “have a profound effect on the adoption and use of e-prescribing.”

Although President Bush vetoed the bill, Congress overrode the veto, and Kerry Weems, acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said at a news conference that the administration supports the bill’s e-prescribing provisions and will work to implement them.

Leavitt said CMS will hold a conference sometime this fall on e-prescribing to give doctors an opportunity to air any concerns they might have about the administration’s program.

Experts say fewer than 10 percent of doctors use e-prescribing, but the administration wants to increase that percentage. Weems said the technology could save CMS $156 million in five years.

E-prescribing also has advantages for doctors, patients, pharmacists and those who pay for drug benefits outside Medicare. Dr. James King, a family physician in Tennessee and president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, said at the news conference that e-prescribing “definitely improved the care that I provide to my patients.”

However, he acknowledged that he does not always submit prescriptions electronically for a variety of reasons, such as knowing that particular pharmacies do not accept e-prescriptions and the inability to prescribe controlled substances under Drug Enforcement Administration rules.

Under the Medicare bill, doctors who use e-prescribing for Medicare patients will receive a 2 percent bonus in 2009 and 2010, a 1 percent bonus the following two years, and a 0.5 percent bonus in 2013.

Those who don’t use e-prescribing will be subject to fee reductions of 1 percent in 2012, 1.5 percent in 2013 and 2 percent thereafter. There is a provision for hardship exemptions.

About the Author

Nancy Ferris is senior editor of Government Health IT.

Featured

  • Telecommunications
    Stock photo ID: 658810513 By asharkyu

    GSA extends EIS deadline to 2023

    Agencies are getting up to three more years on existing telecom contracts before having to shift to the $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions vehicle.

  • Workforce
    Shutterstock image ID: 569172169 By Zenzen

    OMB looks to retrain feds to fill cyber needs

    The federal government is taking steps to fill high-demand, skills-gap positions in tech by retraining employees already working within agencies without a cyber or IT background.

  • Acquisition
    GSA Headquarters (Photo by Rena Schild/Shutterstock)

    GSA to consolidate multiple award schedules

    The General Services Administration plans to consolidate dozens of its buying schedules across product areas including IT and services to reduce duplication.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.