Act Now to Avoid the Medicare ePrescribing Penalty

UPDATED:  Nov. 1, 2011

Physicians have until Tuesday, Nov. 8, to ask for an exemption from a 1 percent cut in Medicare payments for failing to meet Medicare’s ePrescribing requirements for 2012.

To get an extension, you must apply online. No other form of request will be accepted. To request an exemption, submit this online form.

Who’s eligible for an exemption?

  • You’re already registered in a Medicare or Medicare electronic health record incentive program
  • You prescribe infrequently. Either you wrote fewer than 10 prescriptions during the first six months of 2011, or had fewer than 100 Part B claims with codes and services that fall within ePrescribing measures during the first six months of 2011.
  • You practice in an area without high-speed internet access.
  • You practice in an area without enough pharmacies that can handle ePrescribing.
  • You cannot participate in the ePrescribing program because of limitations of local, state or federal law or regulation.

The physician must personally submit the application for an exemption – it cannot be done by someone else on your behalf.

If you’re not sure whether you qualify for an exemption, the AMA suggests that you apply anyway. There is no appeals process after the fact.

For more detailed information, download the AMA’s information sheet. (.pdf, 3 pages)

Apply for the exemption here.

What to Do if You Have Problems Accessing the Hardship Exemption Web Page

CMS and the QualityNet Help Desk has been receiving calls from Eligible Professionals who are having difficulty with accessing the Communication Support Page.  After doing some research they found that the problem is related to an issue with the internet browser.  CMS is asking eligible professionals to take the step below if they are unsuccessful in accessing the Communication Support Page when trying to submit their Hardship Exemption Request.

After typing in the above link, in the internet browser, select Tools/Internet Options/Advanced.  Scroll down toward the bottom and locate the “Use TLS 1.0” choice.  Place a checkmark in the “Use TLS 1.0.”  Click OK. Attempt to access the site again.

If you still have trouble accessing the site, the QualityNet Help Desk may be reached at 1-866-288-8912 or email at from 7am to 7pm CT, Monday through Friday.  Due to the high volume of calls that the QualityNet Help Desk has been receiving there may be a waiting period.

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