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PCMA Supports Bipartisan Legislation Calling for E-Prescribing Requirement in Medicare

Requirement Necessary to Accelerate Adoption

WASHINGTON, Dec. 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As a leader in the effort to improve health care through electronic prescribing (e-prescribing), the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) supports the bipartisan legislation introduced by Senate Finance Committee Members John Kerry (D-Mass.), John Ensign (R-Nev.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Senator Mel Martinez (R-Fla.), and endorsed by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) requiring physicians to use e-prescribing in Medicare. PCMA also supports the House companion bill introduced by Representatives Allyson Schwartz (D-Penn.), Jon Porter (R-Nev.), and Lois Capps (D-Calif.).

"Key policymakers from both parties and Secretary Leavitt agree: The time has come to require physicians to use e-prescribing in Medicare. This could be the greatest patient safety achievement in a generation and it would also save Medicare billions of dollars," said PCMA President and CEO Mark Merritt.

Introduction of the "Medicare Electronic Medication and Safety Protection (E-MEDS) Act of 2007" is another positive sign of momentum. Yesterday, the Administration said it wants significant health IT reform in a Medicare bill and that doctors who choose not to e-prescribe or use electronic medical records should not receive payments updates.

Last year, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommended that all physicians begin using e-prescribing by 2010 to help reduce the estimated 1.5 million preventable medication errors that occur in the United States annually. Each year, roughly 7,000 people die from medication errors, according to the IOM. However, fewer than one-in-ten physicians currently use e-prescribing technology. Physicians have been slow to adopt e-prescribing not because of clinical concerns, but because they do not view it as a priority.

Earlier this year, PCMA released a study from the Gorman Health Group that found requiring e-prescribing in Medicare could prevent up to 1.9 million medication errors and save the federal government billions over the next decade, even after providing physicians funds for equipment, training, and technical support.

Joining PCMA in the effort to require physicians to use e-prescribing in Medicare is a broad coalition of consumer, union, business, purchaser groups, and other prescription drug stakeholders. In addition, PCMA also has been leading the charge on this important improvement in patient safety with a new TV ad campaign featuring Dr. Lyle Bootman, the co-chair of the IOM committee that recommended that all physicians adopt e-prescribing. In the TV ad, Dr. Bootman calls on Congress to require e-prescribing in Medicare "before more people die."

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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