Physicians and other eligible professionals who use qualified electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) systems to transmit prescriptions to pharmacies may earn an incentive payment of 2 percent of their total Medicare allowed charges during 2009. This incentive is in addition to a 2 percent incentive payment for 2009 for physicians who successfully report measures under the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI), and both incentive payments are in addition to the 1.1 percent fee schedule update required by the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (MIPPA). In other words, a physician who successfully reports under both the e-prescribing and PQRI initiatives could receive up to a 5.1 percent pay boost for 2009.

To participate in the e-prescribing incentive program, physicians will need to have a qualified e-prescribing system that: (1) communicates with the patient's pharmacy; (2) helps the physician identify appropriate drugs and provide information on lower cost alternatives for the patient; (3) provides information on formulary and tiered formulary medications; and (4) generates alerts about possible adverse events. The revised policies and payment rates will become effective Jan. 1, 2009. More detailed information may be accessed here.