AMA Wire

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

For Physicians

Learn how to avoid Medicare pay penalties: June 18 call

A 90-minute conference call at 1:30 p.m. Eastern time June 18 will help physicians understand how to avoid payment penalties in the Medicare quality and ePrescribing programs.

Presenters on the call, hosted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), will discuss the payment adjustments for the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and ePrescribing program and offer tips for successfully participating in these programs. A question-and-answer session will follow the presentation.

Sign up for the call today. Registration will close at noon Eastern time June 18 or when space is full.

Physicians are required to meet requirements for PQRS in 2013 to avoid a 1.5 percent reduction in payments in 2015. A number of reporting options are possible for physicians as individuals or group practices, including paper claims, registries and electronic health records.

Thanks to recommendations made by the AMA to CMS, two simplified reporting options are available for physicians who wish to avoid the 2015 penalty: reporting only a single measure or measure group and reporting via administrative claims. However, reporting through these options will not qualify physicians for an incentive payment. Visit the AMA's PQRS Web page to learn more.

In addition, physicians have just a few weeks to avoid a 2 percent penalty in 2014 for those who do not meet the Medicare ePrescribing program's requirements this year.

While CMS automatically will evaluate whether physicians qualify for a limited set of exemption categories tied to the Medicare electronic health record (EHR) meaningful use program, physicians also may request a hardship exemption through the agency's quality reporting communication support Web page by June 30.

Visit the AMA ePrescribing Web page to learn more about the ePrescribing program and view a list of the exemption categories. Also consult CMS's Web page on payment adjustment information to learn more about the 2014 payment penalty.

New FDA regulations require tanning bed warnings

New proposed regulations for sunlamps issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) call for greater protection of minors from the dangers of tanning beds, citing longstanding AMA policy on the issue.

The regulations would require enhanced government oversight of these tanning devices and require warnings aimed at discouraging people under the age of 18 from using them. The FDA also is proposing that sunlamp products should be labeled with a recommendation for people who repeatedly use them to see their physician regularly for skin cancer screenings.

The AMA, medical specialty societies and other associations in organized medicine have been involved in efforts to restrict minors' access to tanning beds at the state level as well, with several new laws being adopted in recent legislative sessions.