Press release




The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today announced a conference to educate physicians and other stakeholders about a newly enacted federal program of incentive payments to encourage the use of electronic prescribing.   CMS is requesting interested public and private sector organizations to join the agency as cosponsors of the conference, which will be held Oct. 6–7, 2008, in Boston .  


“The new incentive program will help spread adoption of e-prescribing throughout the health care community,” said CMS Acting Administrator Kerry Weems.  “E-prescribing has many benefits for patients, providers, health plans, and pharmacies.  Not only is e-prescribing more efficient than paper prescriptions, it is also safer.  E-prescribing can help reduce the number of adverse drug events, which for Medicare beneficiaries alone is estimated at 530,000 a year.”


The many benefits of e-prescribing include:


  • Physicians have electronic access to each patient’s prescription history, helping them avoid prescribing drugs that may result in harmful drug interactions;
  • E-prescribing eliminates the possibility of medication errors caused by illegible prescribing clinician handwriting;
  • E-prescribing reduces confusion and miscommunication, resulting in fewer phone calls and faxes between the physician’s office and the pharmacy; and
  • With access to a patient’s insurance and formulary information at the point of care, physicians can prescribe a drug that is both covered and affordable, resulting in fewer trips to the pharmacy.


The Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (MIPPA) established a five-year program of incentive payments to eligible professionals who are “successful electronic prescribers.”   Successful prescribers are those who either report applicable electronic prescribing measures established under the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI) or who electronically submit prescriptions under Medicare Part D at a level determined by CMS. The incentive payment program begins on Jan.1, 2009.  The conference will serve to educate affected constituencies on the MIPPA program and CMS’ plans for implementation.


The notice invites interested parties to submit proposals detailing how they could support CMS, in a non-fiduciary relationship, by developing conference content, identifying speakers, and implementing outreach activities to educate affected provider, business, and consumer stakeholders about this new program.   Interested organizations may include:


  • Physician and provider organizations (including those representing primary care, specialty care, surgical, and medicine-based specialties);
  • Organizations representing health care professionals;
  • Organizations representing pharmacy industry stakeholders, including retail and community pharmacies;
  • Organizations representing state and local officials; and
  • Organizations representing a broad range of beneficiary interests.


The educational conference will:


  • Equip health care professionals and other stakeholders with the knowledge and the tools to integrate e-prescribing into their business model;
  • Educate health care professionals about the structure and implementation of the incentive payment structure with respect to e-prescribing and PQRI;
  • Generate discussion about the use of e-prescribing and other e-health initiatives to increase patient compliance and overall health outcomes;
  • Identify and promote opportunities to overcome barriers to adoption of this new technology; and
  • Address constituent concerns about privacy, security, and risk management with respect to implementation of the e-prescribing incentive payment program.


Selection criteria outlined in the notice include an applicant’s:


  • Identity as a non-profit, financially disinterested entity that represents constituencies affected by e-prescribing;
  • Demonstrated interest in e-prescribing technology and implementation and knowledge of current e-prescribing standards for Medicare Part D;
  • Presentation of activities and connections that likely will further the public health benefits of e-prescribing; and
  • Willingness to work collaboratively with other public and private sector organizations to achieve the goals of e-prescribing and other e-health initiatives.


CMS will invite selected organizations that meet the evaluation criteria to enter into formal, nonfiduciary cosponsor agreements to consult on the conference program content, speaker selection, and outreach strategies, in addition to other tasks as described in individual cosponsor agreements.  Potential cosponsors must understand that cosponsor agreements will clearly indicate that there will be no federal endorsement of the cosponsor or endorsement of any policies, activities, products, or services resulting from cosponsorship of the conference.


The notice may be viewed at   Proposals to cosponsor the educational conference must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on August 15, 2008.


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