Ritter Insurance Marketing, Craig Ritter

Medicare incentive payments may encourage physicians to use e-prescriptions

USA Today (7/29, Kornblum) reports, “The move to get doctors to file prescriptions electronically is gathering steam, and may get a further boost from new Medicare rules that give doctors money to go electronic — and take it away if they don’t.” According to Pharmacy Health Information Exchange, which transmits “e-prescriptions from doctors’ offices to pharmacies,” between 2004 and 2007, “e-prescriptions increased from 700,000 to 35 million.” Yet, “that only amounts to about six percent of U.S. doctors who regularly sent e-prescriptions in 2007,” something the government hopes to change. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt stated that a “new four-year program” announced last week “will give doctors who start e-prescribing incentive payments,” which will be the equivalent of “two percent of their billable Medicare charges for 2009 and 2010, one percent for 2011 and 2012, and 0.5 percent in 2013.” And, “[i]f doctors don’t get on board, they could face penalties beginning in 2012.”

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