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Groups Urge E-Prescribing For Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit

Armen Hareyan's picture

Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit

Summaries of coverage related to e-health appear below.

  • Blogging: HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff are the first two members of President Bush's Cabinet to start blogging about issues that affect their departments and to "occasionally sound off on criticism of their policies," the AP/USA Today reports. Leavitt in his blog, www.secretarysblog.hhs.gov has written about SCHIP and defended Bush's veto of the reauthorization and expansion bill. "The drama around vetoes and overrides are just the way Washington conducts a conversation and debate," Leavitt wrote. Leavitt said his blogging experience so far has been positive. According to Michael Delli Carpini, dean of the Annenberg School for Communications at the University of Pennsylvania, a benefit of the blogs is that they allow people to interact with government officials, but readers are "seldom going to get a different point of view or an inside story" because public officials usually are promoting policy rather than offering honest reflections on issues, AP/USA Today reports (Sullivan, AP/USA Today, 10/22).
  • Medicare prescription drug benefit: A coalition of consumer, union, business and other groups in an Oct. 16 letter to chairs and ranking members of the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means committees called on Congress to require all Medicare drug benefit prescriptions be issued electronically by 2010, CQ HealthBeat reports. The committees have jurisdiction over the issue. The letter notes that e-prescriptions could prevent 1.9 million adverse prescription drug events over the next 10 years and save the program billions of dollars, even after providing physicians with funding to implement the new technology and to provide training. The letter's authors also advocated for annual incentives to physicians who e-prescribe equal to 1% of their allowed Medicare payments. Groups that signed the letter include the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, Aetna, the HR Policy Association, Consumers Union, Families USA and the AFL-CIO (CQ HealthBeat, 10/19).

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