CMS Reopens Submission Period for Meaningful Use Hardship Exception

CMS recently announced that it is reopening the submission period for hardship exception applications for eligible professionals and eligible hospitals to avoid penalties for not meeting the meaningful use requirements.

The new deadline will be November 30, 2014 at 11:59 PM EST.  To be considered for the exception, eligible professionals and eligible hospitals must complete a hardship application along with proof of the hardship.

Eligible professionals can apply for hardship exceptions in the following categories:

  1. Infrastructure (e.g., insufficient internet access or insurmountable barriers to obtaining infrastructure – such as lack of broadband)
  2. New eligible professionals (e.g., have not had time to become a meaningful user) Note that the CMS website states that eligible providers in their first year of practice do not need to submit a hardship application (i.e., it will be automatically granted based on Medicare data).
  3. Unforeseen circumstances (e.g., natural disaster or other unforeseeable barrier or inability related to 2014 EHR certification delays)
  4. Lack of patient interaction (e.g., lack of face-to-face or telemedicine interaction with patients; lack of follow-up need with patients)
  5. Practice at multiple locations (lack of control over availability of Certified EHR technology for greater than 50% of all patient encounters)
  6. Certain PECOS specialties (anesthesiology, radiology or pathology)

More information on the hardship exception and application process can be found on the CMS EHR Incentive Program website – Payment Adjustments and Hardship Exceptions Page.

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