Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012
This Week's News
This Week's News
CMS offers more time to file for 2013 ePrescribing exemption, avoid penalty
Physicians who missed the original deadline to file for a Medicare ePrescribing hardship exemption have another opportunity to avoid the 1.5 percent payment penalty in 2013.
Acting upon AMA requests, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is re-opening the Communications Support Web page for three months, beginning Thursday to allow physicians who missed the June 30 deadline to file for a hardship exemption. The Web page will be open until Jan. 31, 2013.
Physicians may request a waiver of the 2013 penalty under any of the following categories:
- The physician is unable to ePrescribe as a result of state, federal or local law or regulation.
- The physician had fewer than 100 prescriptions during the period of Jan. 1–June 30, 2012.
- The physician practices in a rural area that doesn't have sufficient high-speed Internet access.
- The physician practices in an area that doesn't have enough pharmacies that can do ePrescribing.
Two additional hardship categories for ePrescribers who are or plan to be meaningful users of electronic health records were included in the Medicare physician fee schedule proposed rule. Until those hardship categories are adopted in the final rule, physicians may only file under the four existing categories.
To avoid errors that could result in receiving the 2013 penalty, physicians must use their individual Type I National Provider Identifier in their exemption filing. (This is the number used in box 24 (J) of the CMS 1500 paper form or in the Rendering Provider Name or Billing Provider Name loop of electronic claims.)
Physicians also must use the Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) they use for billing when filing for the hardship exemption. Physicians who bill using their Employer Identification Number should use this number for the filing. Similarly, those who bill using their Social Security number should use that number for the filing.
Visit the CMS ePrescribing Web page to learn more. Physicians can contact CMS's QualityNet Help Desk at (866) 288-8912 or email@example.com with questions or for assistance submitting their hardship exemption requests. Support is available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time Monday through Friday.
Physicians who use Apple computers may experience technical problems; CMS encourages them to contact the Help Desk for assistance.
Hardship exemption requests for the 2014 payment penalty will be accepted during a separate period in 2013.