This month, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published a final rule for 2011 Electronic Prescribing Incentive Program.  Importantly, for physicians who are in the process of becoming compliant but not quite there, the new rule pushed the deadline for seeking a hardship waiver from the applicable penalty to November 1, 2011.

Unless a hardship waiver is applied for and granted by CMS, Physicians who fail to meet the minimum e-prescribing thresholds under the program are subject to a one-percent (1%) Medicare payment penalty on payments in 2012 based on their e-prescribing activity in the first six months of 2011.  Penalties then increase by .5% in 2013 and again in 2014. 

There are a number of types of hardship exemptions that can be requested including limited prescribing activity and insufficient opportunities to report the electronic prescribing measure -- but to qualify for an exemption, requests must be submitted by November 1, 2011.  More information on the program can be found at the following link:  http://www.cms.gov/ERxIncentive/20_Payment_Adjustment_Information.asp