The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will issue a final rule in November 2008 regarding the new electronic prescribing provisions included in the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (MIPPA), signed into law this past summer. This new initiative is in addition to the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI). Section 132 of MIPPA authorizes an incentive program for eligible professionals who are "e-prescribers" as defined by MIPPA. Generally, "e-prescribing" is the computer-based electronic generation, transmission and filling of a prescription.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2009, Medicare will offer physician payment incentives of 2 percent for e-prescribing in reporting years 2009 and 2010; 1 percent in 2011 and 2012, and 0.5 percent in 2013. The bonus is in addition to the separate 2 percent payment increase available under the PQRI. Beginning in 2012, payments actually will be reduced 1percent for those who are not "successful e-prescribers", with reductions of 1.5 percent in 2013 and 2 percent each year thereafter. You can find more information on this new initiative here.