WASHINGTON — Medicare is taking new steps to speed the adoption of electronic prescribing by offering incentive payments to physicians and other eligible professionals who use the technology, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported this week. E-prescribing is more efficient and convenient for consumers, improves the quality of care, lowers administrative costs and its widespread use would eliminate thousands of medication errors every year, HHS said. Beginning in 2009, and during the next four years, Medicare will provide incentive payments to eligible professionals who are successful electronic prescribers. Eligible professionals will receive a 2% incentive payment in 2009 and 2010; a 1% incentive payment in 2011 and 2012; and a one-half percent incentive payment in 2013. Beginning in 2012, eligible professionals who are not successful electronic prescribers will receive a reduction in payment. Eligible professionals may be exempted from the reduction in payments, on a case-by-case basis if it is determined that compliance with requirement for being a successful prescriber would result in significant hardship.
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