Problems with eRx Exemptions and News on the President's Budget

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March 09, 2012
In this issue
» Doctors Say They're Being Unfairly Penalized by Medicare

» President's New Budget Earns Nod of Approval on Many Health Issues

» Mandatory 'Labeling' to Start Soon on Health Insurance Policies

About this newsletter

The ACP Advocate is an e-newsletter, edited by the College's Washington, DC governmental affairs division, created to provide you, our members, with succinct news about public policy issues affecting internal medicine and patient care. To learn more about ACP's Advocacy and to access the ACP Advocate archives, go to

Welcome to The ACP Advocate

Today’s first story details problems we’ve been hearing about with applications doctors have been submitting for hardship exemptions to Medicare’s eRx program.  Take a look at the article to learn a little more about the problem.  And, if you have been experiencing a problem in your practice, I encourage you to contact CMS (the contact information is at the bottom of the article) and to also let us know about your situation.  In the column to the right of this Welcome you’ll find a link to a form on the ACP website that you can use to file a complaint with us.
Our second story this week looks at the proposed budget that President Obama released a couple of weeks ago.  We’re happy that the budget includes increased funding to expand the health care workforce, and we’re glad that the President mentions that the SGR formula needs to be repealed to end the cycle of Medicare payment cuts.  However, the budget does not include a mention of how they would manage this repeal.  While the budget is unlikely to be enacted exactly as proposed, we are encouraged that the SGR is being acknowledged as the issue it is.  We’ll keep you up-to-date over the course of the year as Congress and the President continue talking about the budget and the SGR.
Finally, our last story looks at a provision of the health care reform law that is set to come into effect this fall.  Starting on Sept. 23, health plans must offer consumers concise fact sheets that summarize what their plan offers.  While the regulations may still need some tweaking, we believe this new, easily digestible information, will be helpful to you and your patients.
For more coverage of what's happening in Washington, take a look at my award-winning blog, The ACP Advocate Blog by Bob Doherty.  You can also follow me on Twitter @BobDohertyACP

And, as always, please send your feedback and suggestions on this newsletter to:

Yours truly,

Bob Doherty
Senior Vice President
Governmental Affairs and Public Policy
American College of Physicians      


In the news
» Doctors Say They're Being Unfairly Penalized by Medicare
  Agency actions as part of e-prescribing program prompt flurry of complaints to ACP

Playing by the rules for electronic prescribing doesn't seem to have helped doctors avoid being penalized by Medicare.

In fact, doctors of two sorts say they're being unfairly penalized under the agency's new Electronic Prescribing Incentive Prog... » Click to read the full article

» President's New Budget Earns Nod of Approval on Many Health Issues
  ACP analyst commends funding to boost health care workforce and insurance exchanges

The Obama administration's $76.4 billion budget proposal for funding federal health care programs is receiving mostly positive marks from analysts with the American College of Physicians.

Alicia Lee, a senior legislative analyst for ACP, said tha... » Click to read the full article

» Mandatory 'Labeling' to Start Soon on Health Insurance Policies
  New federal regulations require simple explanation of what a plan does and does not cover

Figuring out what a health insurance policy covers can be enough to send consumers fleeing to the headache aisle at the drugstore.

New federal regulations, though, aim to change that by making it easier for consumers to understand their insuranc... » Click to read the full article

In focus
Are you having problems with eRx?
Have you been subject to a Medicare eRx payment penalty despite a pending application for a hardship exemption? If you have been unable to resolve the situation with CMS, please take a moment to fill out the form at the above link to let us know about your situation.

AIMn Now on Twitter
Get the latest information about the College’s advocacy efforts and the Advocates for Internal Medicine network (AIMn) through a new Twitter feed, Advocates for IM. There you will find the latest information about the activities of the College’s government affairs office and the hot topics in Washington.

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