News | November 14, 2007

CMS Releases Proposed E-Prescribing Standards in Medicare

November 15, 2007 - The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) yesterday said the proposed standards for electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) confirm that the time is now to require e-prescribing in Medicare.

Following four years of extensive review by physicians, pharmacists, standard-setting organizations, and other stakeholders, CMS estimates tremendous savings and health benefits with increased adoption of e-prescribing. In the proposed standards, CMS estimates found that adoption of e-prescribing will reduce adverse drug events, provide increased administrative savings to physicians, and enhance generic utilization.

“CMS estimates even modest adoption of e-prescribing could save billions and greatly reduce adverse drug events (ADEs),” said PCMA President and CEO Mark Merritt.

The proposed e-prescribing standards were developed and pilot-tested during a rigorous process with consensus from a variety of influential healthcare stakeholders, including physicians, pharmacists, payers, the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Committee on Vital Health Statistics, and HIPAA-recognized standard setting organizations. In a positive note regarding interoperability, the proposed e-prescribing standards were created by the same organizations which developed electronic medical records (EMR) standards. PCMA said requiring e-prescribing in Medicare is the first step toward broader adoption of overall health IT and would also serve as a model for the entire commercial market.

In the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act (MMA), Part D sponsors were required to accept e-prescribing and national standards were created for Medicare, however, physicians were not required to use the technology. As a result, fewer than 1-in-10 physicians have chosen to use it. PCMA strongly believes the only realistic way to rapidly accelerate adoption of e-prescribing is to require physicians to use the technology in Medicare.

Earlier this year, PCMA released a study from the Gorman Health Group showing that requiring e-prescribing in Medicare could prevent up to 1.9 million medication errors over the next decade and save billions - even after providing funds for equipment and training.

PCMA last week launched a TV and print advertising campaign featuring J. Lyle Bootman, Ph.D., Sc.D., who last year co-chaired an Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee that recommended that all physicians begin using e-prescribing by 2010. In the TV ad, Dr. Bootman calls on policymakers to require e-prescribing in Medicare, “before more people die.”

For more information: www.pcmanet.org

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