Simple to enroll in and administer, GPRO for ePrescribing is a winner

May 6th, 2013 by Rod Baird

Thank you CMS staff for a quality reporting option that is a significant improvement — GPRO (Group Practice Reporting Option) for ePrescribing. I’m usually a critic of the needless complexity of these programs, but this one is a winner.

One of our larger LTC Physician groups finished their 2013 ePrescribing for the year on March 7. Not only did they finish earlier than they started in past years, there was essentially zero administrative time spent in the pursuit of compliance. This is a huge contrast to past years when each individual prescriber had to be helped over the barrier of 10 eRx by June 30 to avoid penalty, and then 25 total prescriptions by Dec. 31 to achieve the small bonus.

How did this “compliance miracle” occur? Simple – the GPRO eRx option became easy to administer, and the practice set up a competition. The practice had to report 625 instances of ePrescribing before June 30 to both avoid the 1.5% penalty and earn the 0.5% bonus. Providers who participated in achieving the target (set at 1,000 instances to assure more than 625 patient encounters were with Medicare B beneficiaries) were given a pro rata share of the estimated $20,000 in incentive payments. That proves two things: You can eRx in nursing homes, and carrots work better than sticks. The entire process was made easy because all the physicians and extenders use our Certified EHR with integrated ePrescribing.

However, it isn’t mandatory that the group use a Certified EHR to ePrescribe. One of our larger groups (100-plus) has part of their staff who work full time in Nursing Homes with “compliant” ePrescribing available through the facility’s clinical EMR. Those providers will get the entire group over its 2,500 eRx hurdle by using the facility’s system. LTC groups should examine this option if they haven’t yet deployed their own Certified EHR.

CMS should adopt Group Reporting for as many programs as possible – it gets administrative staff (who run these things) to focus on systems instead of individual compliance. Usually the laggards don’t participate due to technical barriers, not disinterest.

For 2013, CMS updated the options for satisfying the ePrescribing Incentive Program. They made GPRO much simpler to enroll in and satisfy. They set threshold numbers of ePrescriptions for groups of different sizes.

Group size

# of total eRx to meet requirements

Cut-off date to avoid 2014 penalty

Cut-off date to earn 2013 incentive

2-24

75

6/30/2013

12/31/2013

25-99

625

6/30/2013

12/31/2013

100+

2500

6/30/2013

12/31/2013

There is a decent CMS description of the 2013 program on their website.

The only remaining shortcoming is that practices had to register to participate by Jan. 31, 2013. That deadline passed before most groups even knew it existed. CMS stated that the GPRO option would become available for 2014, so watch for this in the Final 2014 Medicare Physicians Fee Schedule. I’ll be sure to send readers an alert once that window opens this coming December.

Now if CMS was really on the ball, they’d reopen this option for the current year.

Rod Baird

About Rod Baird

Rod Baird is the Founder and President of Geriatric Practice Management (GPM). Since 1977, he’s led provider and management organizations that deliver care to Medicare/Medicaid beneficiaries. Past programs he’s overseen include home health, personal care, hospice, rehabilitation hospitals, adult and psych daycare, alcohol/drug rehabilitation, industrial medicine and primary care practices. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) selected Baird as one of only 73 individuals to serve with its InnovationProgram. His educational background includes a Master’s Degree in Physical Chemistry from the American University, Washington, D.C.

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