Archive | November 2011

Emergency Preparedness for Special Need Patients

The Medical Society of New Jersey is providing emergency preparedness information for physicians who treat patients with special medical needs.  Physicians can assist their patients with special medical needs to prepare for evacuation by referring them to county based emergency medical services in advance of a disaster.  Below is a summary of resources.

Mary Goepfert, MPA, APR, CPM, External Affairs Officer, NJ Office of Emergency Management presented at the August 11, 2011, PSP Meeting and her power point Assisting People with Disabilities during Large-Scale Emergencies and Disasters is available on the MSNJ website  As in all situations, planning is the key for the patient and their family.

The special need patients need to have a GO KIT.  Listed below are some items that the individual needs to have ready in addition to basic supplies of water, food, flashlight, whistle or bell for alerting other to your whereabouts, batteries, basic first aid supplies and supplies for pets. Another suggestion is having their identification, medical information and personal contacts on a computer thumb drive.


  • Identification, medical insurance cards, physician contact information
  • Written medical descriptions of the disability and support needs
  • Copies of medical prescriptions
  • List of personal contacts
  • List of allergies and health history
  • Medical alert tags or bracelets
  • Extra medicine, oxygen, insulin, catheters or other medical supplies used regularly
  • Eyeglasses, hearing aids
  • Batteries – for adaptive equipment
  • A light weight, collapsible wheel chair

Sign up on the NJ Register Ready website. This website collects data on special need individuals to provide information to the emergency response agencies.

Each county in the state has an office on emergency management. Please refer to the following websites for more detail information.


AMA Secures Extension for E-Prescribing Hardship Exemption Deadline

After hearing yesterday that some physicians were having difficulty accessing the CMS Communication Support Page, the AMA was able to work with CMS to secure an extension.  The new deadline to file for an e-prescribing hardship exemption is Tuesday, November 8, 2011.  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 ePrescribing (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).
  • There were too few opportunities for you to report the ePrescribing measure due to limitations of the measure’s denominator (you do e-prescribe but your electronic prescriptions are not related to qualifying visits/services).

Where to File for a Hardship Exemption

File for a hardship exemption online.

What to Do if You Have Problems Accessing the Hardship Exemption Webpage

CMS and the QualityNet Help Desk has been receiving calls from Eligible Professionals who are having difficulty with accessing the Communication Support Page.  After doing some research they found that the problem is related to an issue with the internet browser.  CMS is asking eligible professionals to take the step below if they are unsuccessful in accessing the Communication Support Page when trying to submit their Hardship Exemption Request.

After typing in the above link, in the internet browser, select Tools/Internet Options/Advanced.  Scroll down toward the bottom and locate the “Use TLS 1.0” choice.  Place a checkmark in the “Use TLS 1.0.”  Click OK. Attempt to access the site again.

If you still have trouble accessing the site, the QualityNet Help Desk may be reached at 1-866-288-8912 or email at from 7am to 7pm CT, Monday through Friday.  Due to the high volume of calls that the QualityNet Help Desk has been receiving there may be a waiting period.

MSNJ appreciates the efforts of AMA on the e-prescribing program, particularly with regard to the hardship exemptions.