The Advocacy Council of ACAAI recently received the following notice from CMS regarding important clarification of the Meaningful Use Exception – the deadline is March 15.
In response to requests from the AMA, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued FAQ #14357 clarifying that applying for a hardship exception from the 2017 meaningful use payment penalty will not preclude physicians from receiving the incentive if they successfully attest to meaningful use in 2015. In essence, the hardship exception will act as a safety net. As a reminder, the AMA is encouraging all physicians to apply for a hardship exception as a result of the delay of the 2015 meaningful use modification rule. Step-by-step instructions on how to file for the exception and an application which must be received by CMS by March 15 may be found on the CMS website.
If I submit a hardship exception application by the March 15 deadline, does that mean that I cannot attest for the 2015 EHR reporting period and possibly receive an incentive pay?
No. Submission of a hardship exception application does not prevent a provider from attesting and receiving an incentive payment if meaningful use requirements are met.
Attestation for the 2015 EHR reporting periods is currently open. We urge providers to try to attest by the March 15 attestation deadline. If they successfully attest, they will avoid the payment adjustment in 2017 and may also be eligible to receive an EHR Incentive payment.
However, if a provider cannot attest for a 2015 reporting period or believes their attestation may be unsuccessful, the provider can apply for a hardship exception to avoid the payment adjustment in 2017. The application will not prevent a provider from earning an incentive if their attestation is in fact successful. The deadline to submit a hardship exception application is March 15 for eligible professionals.