Published 6/1/2014

EHR Incentive Program

Hardship exception applications due July 1

Medicare providers who were unable to successfully demonstrate meaningful use for 2013 due to circumstances beyond their control can apply for a hardship exception. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is accepting applications for hardship exceptions to avoid the upcoming Medicare payment adjustment for the 2013 reporting year. Payment adjustments for the Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program will begin on Jan. 1, 2015, for eligible professionals.

However, providers can avoid the adjustment by completing a hardship exception application and providing supporting documentation that proves demonstrating meaningful use would be a significant hardship. CMS will review applications to determine whether or not the provider qualifies for a hardship exception.

Hardship exception applications for eligible professionals and for eligible professionals submitting multiple National Provider Identifiers (NPIs) are available on the EHR website (www.cms.gov/EHRIncentivePrograms). Eligible professionals must submit hardship exception applications for the 2015 payment adjustments no later than July 1, 2014. If approved, the exception is valid for one year.

Eligible professionals can also avoid payment adjustments by successfully demonstrating meaningful use prior to the payment adjustment. Tip sheets that outline when eligible professionals must demonstrate meaningful use in order to avoid the payment adjustments are available on the CMS website (www.cms.gov).