CMS Backlog Shortchanges Doctors on E-prescribing Exemptions

Charles Fiegl | American Medical News | April 9, 2012

Some physicians are reporting that the Medicare payments they’ve received for their services in 2012 are being reduced for a failure to prescribe enough electronically in 2011, even though the doctors filed waiver requests seeking special hardship exemptions.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services could not process all hardship application requests before starting to levy the 1% penalty for noncompliant physicians in 2012, officials said. The agency said it since has approved or denied all of those exemption requests, requiring contractors to reprocess claims for physicians unfairly penalized earlier in the year.

CMS would not provide a count of how many doctors and other health professionals are being assessed the penalty, whether appropriately or not. But physicians say there has been too much confusion throughout the entire process, and many still do not know if the penalties they noticed earlier in the year will continue to apply to their Medicare rates going forward. Medicare has no official appeals process for the e-prescribing penalty program...