E-prescribing bonus? Not for house-call docs

May 8, 2009

Physicians who visit most of their patients in their homes or nursing homes won't be able to earn the 2 percent bonus for e-prescribing on their Medicare claims, according to the current legislation.

Physicians who visit most of their patients in their homes or nursing homes won't be able to earn the 2 percent bonus for e-prescribing on their Medicare claims, according to the current legislation.

The e-prescribing bonus, as described in the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008, requires that at least 10 percent of a physician's Medicare-covered services be billed under several sets of CPT codes, but it does not include the most common home visit codes used by house call doctors.

After noticing the omission, Jim King, MD, chairman of the board for the American Academy of Family Physicians, wrote a letter in February to Charlene Frizzera, acting administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, urging her to correct the oversight. CMS says it "appreciates" King's recommendations and is preparing a response.