HCN News & Notes

Physicians Still Waiting for 2015 Meaningful-use Program Requirements

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Because the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has yet to issue the so-called ‘modification rule’ for the electronic health record (EHR) meaningful-use program for 2015, the American Medical Assoc. (AMA) is calling on the agency to create an automatic hardship exemption for physicians who did not have the opportunity to report successfully this year.

In April, CMS proposed modifications to stages 1 and 2 of the program that reduced the reporting period from a full calendar year to 90 days. Stakeholders believed this was necessary since many physicians could not update systems, change products, or accommodate Internet outages or other disruptions under a 365-day reporting program.

“The AMA welcomed and supported the proposed changes, but it’s now Oct. 1, and CMS has left physicians without any guidance or assurances that they will be capable of meeting program requirements before the end of the year,” said AMA President Dr. Steven Stack said this week. “The AMA has regularly stressed that CMS must finalize meaningful-use modifications well ahead of Oct. 1 to provide the time that physicians need to plan for and accommodate these changes, yet CMS has continued to delay finalizing this rule. As a result, many physicians who were counting on this flexibility will be subject to financial penalties under the rules currently in place. The AMA is asking CMS to create an automatic hardship exemption as soon as possible so that physicians are not penalized for regulatory delays that are outside their control.”

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