Meaningful Use Hardship Exemption Signed

President Obama recently signed into law the Meaningful Use Hardship Exemption. Meaningful Use of Electronic Health Records makes healthcare safer and more connected. Physicians who do not implement EHR technology by 2015 will suffer a 1% reduction in Medicare Payments (reductions will continue to increase after 2015 up to 5%). The new law expands providers’ eligibility for hardship exemptions to Stage 2 of Meaningful Use and it states that eligible professionals must submit an application to the Secretary of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) no later than March 15, 2016 and hospitals no later April 1, 2016.

Bill (S 2425), which was signed into law, grants eligible professionals more ease in applying the hardship exception for Meaningful Use for the 2015 EHR reporting period. Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) who introduced the bill is a physician and has been vocal in his criticisms of the Meaningful Use program in the past. He was a dominant voice calling for the Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of Management and Budget to delay Meaningful Use Stage 3 until Stage 2 has been assessed. While he wanted the hardship exemption to be automatic, providers must apply on a case-by-case basis. The passage of the law was a consummation of the provider community’s advocacy efforts in 2015, which are expected to continue into 2016.

Frustrations over Meaningful Use continue to grow and the American Hospital Association has urged the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to postpone Stage 3 of the meaningful use program until 2019 and until at least 75 percent of hospitals and eligible providers have met Stage 2.

EHR software such as Medisoft, Lytec and Greenway PrimeSuite provide you the tools you need to succeed in Meeting current requirements – it’s easier when you have the right tools at your fingertips. For more questions about Meaningful Use, please see the FAQ page here.


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