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PCMA: CMS Releases Proposed E-Prescribing Standards in Medicare

E-Prescribing Will Improve Savings, Reduce Medication Errors

WASHINGTON, Nov. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/-- The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) said today that the proposed standards for electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) released by the Centers for Medicare & 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 would:

-- Reduce Adverse Drug Events (ADEs);

-- Provide increased administrative savings to physicians, physician offices and pharmacists; 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 health care stakeholders, including physicians; pharmacists; payers; the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); 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. 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 one-in-ten 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.

E-prescribing helps consumers avoid medication errors by providing physicians with real-time safety alerts when a new prescription would dangerously interact with others that have already been prescribed. 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."

The new PCMA TV ad is available at

PCMA is the national association representing America's pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), which administer prescription drug plans for more than 210 million Americans with health coverage provided through Fortune 500 employers, health insurance plans, labor unions, and Medicare Part D.

SOURCE Pharmaceutical Care Management Association
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