Report: E-Prescribing Could Produce Medicare Savings
Use of electronic prescribing could save Medicare as much as $29 billion over the next 10 years and prevent almost two million medication errors, according to a report released on Wednesday by the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, CQ HealthBeat reports (Carey, CQ HealthBeat, 7/12).
The report, prepared by Gorman Health Group, recommends that Congress require physicians who participate in Medicare to use e-prescribing and that the program offer bonuses to physicians valued at $7 billion over 10 years to help them purchase and maintain the computer hardware and software required for the practice (Young, The Hill, 7/12).
According to the report, implementation of those and other recommendations could expand use of e-prescribing to cover almost 80% of prescriptions by 2017.
PCMA on Wednesday also released a survey of 407 physicians that found only one in 10 said they use e-prescribing on a regular basis.
According to the survey, conducted by Ayers, McHenry & Associates, two-thirds of respondents said use of e-prescribing is not a priority, in large part because of financial and administrative concerns (CQ HealthBeat, 7/12).
PCMA President Mark Merritt said that the implementation of the recommendations in the report could help finance a proposal to prevent a scheduled 10% reduction in Medicare physician reimbursements next year. House Democrats have said that they might seek to attach such a proposal, which would cost $30 billion over two years, to legislation to reauthorize the State Children's Health Insurance Program (Serafini, CongressDaily, 7/12).
In response to the recommendations, American Medical Association board member Joseph Heyman said that, although physicians "are eager to adopt new technologies that have the potential to increase patient safety and quality of care ... hitting doctors with an unfunded e-prescribing mandate at the same time the government plans to cut Medicare physicians payments 10% next year is untenable" (CQ HealthBeat, 7/12).
He added that the Congressional Budget Office has "not identified any savings to the Medicare program from e-prescribing" (The Hill, 7/12).