Physicians who either have demonstrated "meaningful use" of an EHR system between Jan. 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012, or who register to participate in the Medicare or Medicaid EHR incentive programs by Jan. 31, 2013, will be automatically exempt from the 1.5 % Medicare e-prescribing penalty in 2013.  Physicians in these categories do not need to apply for a hardship exemption.

Physicians may also apply online for one of the following exemption categories if their inability to prescribe is due to one of the following reasons:

  • Were unable to e-prescribe because of certain laws or regulations (including prescribing large volumes of narcotics)
  • Generated fewer than 100 prescriptions during a six-month reporting period
  • Practice in an area with insufficient pharmacies with e-prescribing capabilities – not applicable in the East Bay
  • Practice in an area with limited access to high-speed Internet – not applicable in the East Bay
Hardship exemptions can be submitted until Jan. 31, 2013, and must be submitted via the CMS Quality Reporting Communication Support Page at

Physicians should also be aware that a 2% Medicare penalty will be assessed in 2014 on physicians who do not report at least 10 e-prescribing measure codes (G8553) on Medicare claims in the first six months of 2013. The measure code can only be reported once per encounter regardless of the number of prescriptions that were e-prescribed.  If you have not yet started to e-prescribe and need assistance, please contact the ACCMA at 510-654-5383.