Pharmacist group calls on CMS to bolster e-prescribing safeguards in new ‘meaningful use’ rule

The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) is calling on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to enhance the patient safeguards in the “meaningful use” rule unveiled by the agency Tuesday.

Doctors, for instance, should be required to perform safety checks before receiving incentive payments for e-prescribing, the group said Tuesday. Additionally, PCMA President and CEO Mark Merritt is urging that the e-prescribing rules governing Part D also apply to certified electronic health records.

“We hope that regulators will do more down the road to ensure that the full safety and savings benefits of e-prescribing are realized on behalf of America’s patients,” Merritt said in a statement. 

CMS on Tuesday issued its final rule governing providers who hope to tap federal incentive payments as they adopt various health information technologies, including e-prescribing and electronic health records. The incentives, included in the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, were enacted in 2009 as part of the Democrats’ economic stimulus bill.

Merritt said that, despite PCMA’s concerns, the group is happy with the law overall. “We are pleased that more physicians continue to adopt e-prescribing every day,” he said, “and are certain that HITECH will accelerate that process tremendously.”