SOURCE: SureScripts-RxHub

July 09, 2008 18:14 ET

SureScripts-RxHub Applauds House and Senate Passage of First Ever Medicare Incentives for Physicians to Use E-Prescribing in Place of Paper Prescriptions

ALEXANDRIA, VA and ST. PAUL, MN--(Marketwire - July 9, 2008) - The co-CEOs of SureScripts-RxHub, J.P. Little and Rick Ratliff, released the following statement today after the U.S. Senate passed a bill to give Medicare the ability to reward physicians for acquiring and using electronic prescribing or "e-prescribing" technology as a replacement for paper prescriptions. Offering financial incentives to physicians who e-prescribe is widely viewed as a critical step towards increasing the technology's adoption and day to day use. The bill is now headed to the President for signature.

"The potential impact of this legislation on the everyday lives of patients in the U.S. healthcare system cannot be overstated. In 2007, patients in the U.S. left their doctors' offices with at least one prescription on 550 million separate occasions. For patients living in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., e-prescriptions offer the convenience of having their prescription electronically transmitted to the pharmacy before they ever leave their doctor's office. Getting rid of the paper and pen also improves patient safety by eliminating the need for pharmacists to interpret illegible handwriting.

"With this bill, legislators are wisely applying the federal government's leverage as the nation's largest healthcare insurer to accelerate the adoption of e-prescribing. Today, more than 70 percent of all retail and mail order pharmacies are using e-prescriptions compared to six percent of physicians. The bill passed today represents one of the single most important steps ever taken to close that gap. Offering physicians direct incentives to both acquire and use e-prescribing technology is a proven approach to boosting the rates of e-prescribing. SureScripts-RxHub has witnessed this firsthand as part of its work with healthcare leaders in the nation's top e-prescribing states."

Last week, the nation's retail pharmacies and leading pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) announced an unprecedented collaboration to unite the country's two leading health information networks -- one operated by SureScripts and the other by RxHub. The newly merged entity not only allows healthcare providers to route prescriptions electronically to their patients' choice of pharmacy, but also gives them secure, electronic access to prescription information that can save their patients' lives and reduce the cost of healthcare for all. Both Little and Ratliff have played lead roles in the design, creation and operation of SureScripts-RxHub -- a secure, low cost utility that has quickly become a strategic asset to a nation in search of safer, more efficient health care.

"Combined with the new Medicare rules scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2009 -- rules that require computer-generated prescriptions covered by the Medicare Part D program to be transmitted electronically -- the new Medicare e-prescribing incentives would greatly accelerate the nation's move to paperless prescribing. This would not only improve the safety and quality of prescribing medications, but what many physicians may not know is that e-prescribing also saves their practice a great deal of time and money.

"To begin realizing all of these benefits as quickly and easily as possible, we encourage all physicians to go to www.GetRxConnected.com. There, physicians will find urgent information and guidance on how to 'Get Connected' for e-prescribing. Get Connected has been launched by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), the American College of Cardiology (ACC), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), and the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) in conjunction with The Center for Improving Medication Management (founded by the AAFP, Humana Inc., Intel Corporation, the MGMA and SureScripts-RxHub)."

About SureScripts-RxHub

SureScripts-RxHub gives healthcare providers secure, electronic access to prescription information that can save their patients' lives and reduce the cost of healthcare for all. Available during emergencies or routine care, SureScripts-RxHub's network is used by physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners nationwide to exchange health information and prescribe without paper. The next time you or anyone you know goes for a checkup and your healthcare provider takes out their pad and pen to write a prescription, take the opportunity to ask them for an e-prescription instead. For more information go to www.SureScriptsRxHub.com.

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