Physician Practice

Meaningful use hardship application deadline extended

Physician Practice Insider, March 8, 2016

CMS extended the deadline for streamlined meaningful use hardship exemption applications. The new deadline for the streamlined application is July 1 and applies to all hospitals, critical access hospitals (CAH), physicians, and other eligible professionals (EP).

The previous deadlines were April 1 for hospitals and CAHs and March 15 for physicians and other EPs. The deadline was extended to give providers enough time to file their applications and avoid negative payment adjustments in 2017. This extension brings the streamlined application deadline up to the existing overall application deadline of July 1, essentially meaning all meaningful use hardship exemptions will be evaluated under the streamlined process.

The Patient Access and Medicare Protection Act (PAMPA) gave CMS the ability to create a streamlined, fast-track application process for meaningful use hardship exemptions and allows groups of providers to apply on a single application. Initially, hardship exemption applications filed after March 15 for physicians and other EPs and April 1 for hospitals and CAHs would revert to CMS’ previous and lengthy process of case-by-case evaluation.

This isn’t the first meaningful use deadline that’s been pushed back this year. The 2015 data attestation deadline was delayed from February 29 to March 11 for all participating hospitals, CAHs, and EPs. These changes come in the wake of announcements from CMS that meaningful use and the EHR Incentive Program will be drastically overhauled.

Earlier this year, CMS reported that more than 200,000 EPs will see payment cuts in 2016 for failing to successfully attest to meaningful use in 2014.

This article was originally published in HCPro’s new Revenue Cycle Daily Advisor.

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