At www.emrupdate.com, one of my favorite posters, Reddy, stated in a thread about electronic prescribing (eRx) that “The only ones I see complaining here are the doctors who have never tried it.” That could not be further from the truth, and this got me thinking that there are many physicians who like me are angry as hell with all of these forced mandates being associated with Medicare participation.
Based on the successful Glen Beck “912 Project” where peaceful citizens marched in Washington to protest the vast myriad of changes going on in our government, I propose that physicians band together and join the new “HIT 1115 Project,” which is the date in which we can all reevaluate our participation in Medicare and simply march/walk away as a group from these proposed mandates associated with the associated indoctrination, coercion, and accept the soon-to-be-added penalties.
On 2010 I'll personally be going the "nonparticipation" route with Medicare, so I won't be in a position for any 2% government handout for eRx. I consider this program to be a sort of second “cash for clunkers" program, with the eRx scripts being the "clunkers." There are many reasons why I am I going "nonpar":
- In my area, patients nowadays are finding it extremely difficult to find a physician accepting new Medicare patients, so there is no reason for me to accept threats and bullying from CMS/Medicare.
- I will be able to finally charge for my fees up-front, before the patient leaves my office.
- I'll be able to bill patients for more than the Medicare allowance for unassigned claims. I'm going for the ultimate Medicare grant—the "limiting charge," which is 15% above what the participating base reimbursement of those involved in the 2% bonus eRx scheme will get, year after year, without any decrease in payments over time.
- I already have an excellent MS Office-based EMR system for writing prescriptions that I wrote 20 years ago and have improved it since. I send all of my prescriptions to the nearest printer in my office. My EMR is essentially free, fast, reliable, and I don't have to second-guess where the patient will fill the prescription. My prescriptions are easy to read, and my drug database prevents errors. The prescriptions written remain in my patient’s electronic folder to permit printout of lists later on (in 2 languages).
- I purposely opt to NOT line the pockets of Glen Tullman (CEO of Allscripts) and similar vendors that lobbied heavily for these new eRx laws to enrich themselves and their companies.
- I hate when physicians are forced to comply with a mandate without any decent scientific studies that compare eRx to paper prescriptions. Overall, I feel that eRx will not bring "quality" to my practice, it will not reduce errors, and it will not decrease costs. Recently even Dr. Blumenthal admitted to the lack of studies to back the many claims for eRx and EMR.
- Lastly, I'm making a statement to Congress and CMS/Medicare that physicians are still the ones in charge of our medical practices. Patients may temporarily get stuck in the middle of this battle, but they too should help their doctors and themselves by lobbying Medicare.
I ask that all physicians unite and participate in the upcoming “HIT 1115 Project”! November 15, 2009 is when the 6-week period during which you can switch participation begins. If all physicians become "non-par" or simply "opt-out," then our lawmakers and their lobbyists will take notice that we're fed up with government intrusion into physician affairs!
Al Borges MD