The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) required physicians to submit at least 25 electronic prescriptions between January 1 and June 30th. Approximately 100,000 physicians complied with the requirement. However, there were about 100,000 other physicians who failed to submit enough prescriptions.
Physicians who did not submit enough electronic prescriptions during the reporting period will be subject to a 1% pay decrease in 2012. CMS extended the deadline until November 1st to apply for a hardship waiver. The extension does not give physicians additional time to e-prescribe, only additional time to apply for a waiver.
The waiver gives physicians a pass if they work in an area without access to high-speed internet, or if local pharmacies do not accept electronic prescriptions. CMS has created new exemptions for physicians registered to participate in the HITECH stimulus program, physicians unable to e-prescribe due to local, federal, or state law, write a limited number of prescriptions, or have insufficient numbers of eligible patient visits during the reporting period.
Physicians wishing to apply for an exemption must register online with CMS. Keep in mind, CMS will not notify practices in advance if they are subject to penalties. The practice manger must keep track. The application process is different for individual physicians and group practices. Click this link to the AMA website for details: http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2011/09/12/gvl10912.htm#s3