The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reopened the submission period for meaningful use hardship exception applications for eligible providers. CMS extended the period for hardship exception applications to November 30, allowing doctors and hospitals who have not yet attested to avoid penalties in 2015.
The original hardship exception application deadline to avoid payment adjustments was April 1 for eligible hospitals and July 1 for eligible professionals. The penalty fees may be avoidable for some providers, because of a technical glitch in the meaningful use attestation portal that could inappropriately penalize physicians who recently adopted EHRs.
According to reports, CMS will not be able to register whether or not providers with new EHR systems can meet meaningful use requirements until mid-October. These delays mean providers who adopted EHR systems for the first time late this year would not have been able to ready their reports by the October 1 deadline if their vendors were late receiving ONC certification for 2014 Certified EHR Technology (CEHRT).
“Giving physicians more time to file for a hardship exception provides necessary relief as many physicians are struggling to meet a number of reporting mandates to avoid multiple penalties,” said Robert Wah, M.D., President of the American Medical Association.
Medicare physicians can apply for the exceptions and their eligibility will be considered for the new deadline if they meet all of the following requirements:
- They must be eligible professionals who were unable to fully implement 2014 Edition CEHRT due to vendor certification delays.
- They must be eligible professionals who were unable to attest by Oct. 1, 2014 or eligible hospitals that were unable to attest by July 1, 2014 using the flexibility options provided in the CMS 2014 CEHRT Flexibility Rule.