Massachusetts' Largest Insurer To Require E-Prescribing

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Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, the state's largest health insurer, will require physicians to adopt computer prescription systems by 2010 to qualify for bonus payments, the Boston Globe reports.

Health insurers say that electronic prescribing "can reduce medication errors, complications from drug interactions and drug allergies and overall pharmacy costs," according to the Globe. John Fallon, chief physician executive of BCBS, in a statement said, "Our incentive programs are designed to reward doctors for taking steps to improve the quality of outcomes for patients, and e-prescribing has certainly proven to increase the quality of care."

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The swift adoption of e-prescribing technology faces several barriers, including the costs of implementing such systems. BCBS said it will pay an undisclosed amount to help some physicians cover software licensing fees for the technology. In addition, the federal government prohibits the e-prescribing of controlled substances, which account for one in five prescriptions.

CMS in 2012 will impose a similar e-prescribing requirement on physicians who treat Medicare beneficiaries (Krasner, Boston Globe, 10/28).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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