AMA Wire

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Practice News

Act now to avoid 2013 ePrescribing penalty

As the June 30 deadline for fulfilling the Medicare ePrescribing program requirements draws near, a new study reports that 58 percent of office-based prescribers were ePrescribing in 2011, up from 36 percent the year before.

The annual progress report on ePrescribing issued by Surescripts also found that physician adoption of the technology has rapidly increased over the last several years.

Physicians can access the AMA's ePrescribing Learning Center to learn how to implement an ePrescribing system, explore ePrescribing products and listen to physicians describe how ePrescribing has helped them save time and enhance patient care. The "Clinician's Guide to ePrescribing" explains requirements for ePrescribing and special considerations for controlled substances.

The Medicare ePrescribing program gives physicians until June 30 to report on at least 10 e-scripts or file for a hardship exemption to avoid a 1.5 percent reduction in their 2013 Medicare Part B payments. A tip sheet from the AMA explains in detail who must meet the program requirements and the steps to take now to avoid the 2013 penalty.

How safe is your patients' personal information?

Sensitive data has been compromised for more than 1 million patients in recent high-profile incidents, but large organizations aren't the only ones that need to ensure proper data security.

Data breaches at Medicaid programs in South Carolina and Utah, which occurred just a few weeks apart, exposed such personal information as names, phone numbers and home addresses. Social security numbers also were among the compromised data for many patients, leaving them vulnerable to identity theft.

While the South Carolina breach occurred as a result of employee misconduct, the Utah incident was traced to noncompliance with procedures that left a server vulnerable to hackers. The breaches emphasize the importance of following a rigorous Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance plan to ensure that patient data is protected.


The AMA offers a variety of HIPAA security resources, including details about the latest privacy and security requirements, a discussion of the HIPAA Breach Notification Rule and an explanation of data encryption in the physician practice.

The AMA HIPAA School also provides an opportunity for physicians and their employees to undertake compliance training via online courses.