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CMS clarifies meaningful use eligibility for retired providers

Providers who retire or opt out of Medicare after successfully attesting to the meaningful use program will still receive an incentive payment, according to an update to a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services frequently asked questions page. Providers can also receive an incentive payment after retirement if they allow a third party proxy to attest on their behalf. If a provider who is retiring or withdrawing from Medicare fails to take either of the previous two actions, they will also fail to qualify as a meaningful user and not receive an incentive payment.

CMS also recently updated another frequently asked questions page related to EHR incentive payments. It turns out that providers’ information is locked and can’t be withdrawn or changed once they’ve submitted it for attestation or if they have received an incentive payment.  It’s the provider’s duty to submit and maintain the proper information to ensure their meaningful use eligibility.

Earlier this year, CMS posted the answers to eight other frequently asked questions and updated answers to an additional three. One question and answer outlined how certain specialists who rarely treat patients in a face-to-face setting can qualify for meaningful use exceptions. While they don’t appear as news announcements or blog posts explaining new interpretations or clarifications of policy – that’s what they are. Meaningful use incentive program participants should check them periodically to keep up to date and adjust their own attestation efforts to accommodate these rules.

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