The American Medical Association (AMA) issued a statement last week welcoming the recent changes made by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to the Medicare e-prescribing program. The changes “provide for more flexibility,” according to the AMA, as they make more physicians who are unable to meet the program’s requirements eligible for an exemption to avoid penalties in 2012.

Still, the AMA noted its continued concern with the fact that physicians have only a short period of time to apply for an exemption once CMS’ Web-based e-prescribing tool is made available.

“We are pleased that CMS has provided more flexibility under the exemption categories and that they have extended the deadline for physicians to apply for an exemption until November 1.

However, we had hoped for even greater flexibility, including an additional reporting period. We remain concerned that physicians will be hit with a penalty and are not being given enough time to comply with the e-prescribing program criteria to avoid this penalty,” said Cecil B. Wilson, MD, the AMA’s immediate past-president.