In order to avoid a penalty under the Meaningful Use (MU) program, eligible professionals must attest that they met the Stage 2 requirements for a period of 90 consecutive days during 2015. However, CMS did not publish the final rule outlining modifications for Stage 2 of MU until October 16, 2015 – meaning that by the time eligible professionals were informed of the modified requirements, fewer than the 90 required days for reporting remained in the calendar year.
Given the late release of the final rule, for those who are unable to meet the MU requirements in 2015, ACS advocated for Congressional intervention to simplify the exception process, and late last week (moments before adjournment for the year), the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate passed legislation which will allow for “blanket” Meaningful Use relief.
This legislation, championed by ACS Fellow Tom Price, MD, FACS (R-GA) in the House, and sponsored by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Robert Casey (D-PA) in the Senate, will allow CMS to approve submitted hardship exception applications in a “batch” until March 15. Currently, these applications are examined on a case-by-case basis, and CMS has acknowledged that it would be difficult for the agency to sort through the volume of requests they are likely to receive. By processing the submissions in a “batch,” those applying will receive a blanket hardship exception. It is important to note, while all applications received prior to March 15 will be approved, surgeons still must apply for the exception. Applications for the hardship exception will be available in early 2016.
An approved hardship exception will exempt Fellows from the payment adjustment in 2017.
If you have any questions about participating in Meaningful Use, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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