CMS to Offer Process to Seek Reprieve from Meaningful Use Penalties

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that physicians who are unable to meet Meaningful Use requirements for 2015 because of CMS’ delays in publishing regulations may apply for a “hardship exemption” that will allow them to avoid Medicare payment penalties next year.

The American Medical Association is encouraging physicians to apply for a hardship exemption under the “extreme and uncontrollable circumstances” category, even if they are uncertain whether they will meet the program requirements this year. Doing so will not preclude physicians from receiving an incentive if they do meet meaningful use requirements this year, but applying can serve as a safety net in staving off a penalty. 

In its advisory CMS said, “Each hardship exception application will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, as required by law. In the past, CMS has considered these applications seriously and, in fact, has approved over 85% of hardship exemptions. “

Hardship applications will be available in early 2016 on CMS' website.



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