Eligible Professionals for 2013 EHR Incentive Program: Hardship Exemptions

At our most recent  HIMSS “Beyond Stage One Meaningful Use “ Education HIMSS Regional Event for Eligible Providers and Health IT Staff in Dover Delaware several Eligible Professionals have expressed to me that they have had difficulty meeting the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs  criteria. Many complained that their vendors for example have not provided the appropriate functionality in their products to assist them meet the criteria in time for them to attest to meeting one or more of the requirements.
Dr. Connors, CMS.  Medical Director Region III shared with the audience that many Medical Practices and Eligible Providers are not aware that any Eligible Professional who experienced difficulty achieving the meaningful use criteria for 2013 have an opportunity to file for a hardship exemption.

CMS recently announced that Eligible Professionals who were unable to successfully meet the meaningful use criteria for 2013 due to a hardship can file for an exemption to avoid the impending Medicare penalty “Payment adjustment” for the 2013 reporting year.  Payment adjustments for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program will begin on January 1, 2015 for eligible professionals.

CMS advises Eligible Professionals that they can avoid the adjustment if they complete a hardship exception application and provide supporting documentation that proves demonstrating meaningful use would be a significant hardship for them. CMS will then review applications to determine whether or not the eligible professional will be granted a hardship exception.

CMS has posted hardship exception applications on the EHR website for:

Applications for the 2015 payment adjustments are due July 1, 2014 for eligible professionals. If approved, the exception is valid for one year.

To Learn More
CMS has issued a New Hardship Exception resource for you. You can also avoid payment adjustments by successfully demonstrating meaningful use prior to the payment adjustment. Tipsheets are available on the CMS website that outline when eligible professionals must demonstrate meaningful use in order to avoid the payment adjustments.

HIMSS next “Beyond Stage One Meaningful Use   “ Education program will be held on May 8, 2014 in Denver, Colorado.

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