ePrescribing Penalties: Confusion around two programs, and what you need to know

There are two, separate federal ePrescribing initiatives that you may have heard of, MIPPA eRx and Meaningful Use (MU) eRx.

There are two, separate federal ePrescribing initiatives that you may have heard of, MIPPA eRx and Meaningful Use (MU) eRx. The MIPPA ePrescribing program is an incentive and penalty program that is separate and distinct from MU. UNC has made ePrescribing an organizational goal and is seeking to achieve MU ePrescribing incentives. UNC has elected to delay addressing the MIPPA eRx program and therefore we are accepting penalization for 2012.

While many providers are actively ePrescribing, no providers met MIPPA ePrescribing requirements to earn an incentive in 2011 or avoid a penalty in 2012. The decision to focus on MU ePrescribing and delay MIPPA ePrescribing initiatives was a practical one. Pursuing both would add complexity to the ePrescribing process, involve redesign of staff and provider workflows, and possibly affect the charge documentation process. The added complexity did not seem to justify the effort for fall 2011 and spring 2012.

Recent communication related to MIPPA has focused on the submission of hardship exemption requests. Seven P&A providers were eligible to submit hardship exemption requests to avoid the 2012 penalty and Practice Quality & Innovation (PQI) has worked with these providers to help them submit these requests. The deadline for submitting hardship was November 1, 2011. If all hardship exemption requests are approved, PQI estimates Medicare payments will be reduced by 1% for 174 providers across 14 departments. We expect to receive reports from CMS regarding which providers will actually be subject to the payment adjustment by the end of the year.

Practice Quality and Innovation (PQI) will be working with departments in the spring of 2012 to ensure they avoid the MIPPA penalty in 2013 and future years.

If you have questions about MIPPA penalties, ePrescribing, or anything related to Meaningful Use, please contact your PQI Project Coach or send an email to: meaningfuluse@unch.unc.edu.