CMS Extends Deadline for E-Prescribing Hardship Exemption by One Week

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has extended the deadline for physicians to file for an e-Prescribing (eRx) Hardship Exemption to Tuesday, November 8, 2011. The new deadline was announced Tuesday (day of the original deadline), after the AMA notified CMS that some physicians were having difficulty accessing the CMS Communications Support Page.

The link for filing a hardship exemption is found at: (In checking the link, the NCMS noticed there may be a slight delay before the web page appears).

CMS and the QualityNet Help Desk have found that the problem with accessing the webpage is related to an issue with the Internet browser. CMS asks that eligible professionals take the step below if they are unsuccessful in accessing the Communication Support Page when trying to submit their Hardship Exemption Request:

If you have trouble accessing the site, the QualityNet Help Desk may be reached at 1-866-288-8912, or email at [email protected] from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm Central Time. Please keep in mind that you may experience a waiting period due to a high volume of calls.

The hardship exemption categories include:

  • Your practice is located in a rural area without highspeed internet access;
  • Your practice is located in an area without sufficient available pharmacies for e-Prescribing (CMS clarified by providing more examples including disruption of e-prescriptions between physician offices and pharmacies caused by natural disasters);
  • You are registered to participate in the Medicare or Medicaid electronic health record (EHR) Incentive Program and you adopted certified EHR technology by October 1, 2011, and did so prior to requesting an exemption;
  • You are unable to electronically prescribe due to local, state or federal law or regulation, (CMS clarified that physicians who mainly prescribe narcotics but due to certain limitations cannot submit these prescriptions electronically can apply for this exemption category);
  • Limited prescribing (you do not prescribe on a regular basis); and
  • There were too few opportunities for you to report the e-Prescribing measure due to limitations of the measure’s denominator (you do e-prescribe but your electronic prescriptions are not related to qualifying visits/services).

For more information about the CMS Electronic Prescribing Incentive Program, please visit


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