CMS announces that there is still some time for providers to apply for hardship exceptions. According to an article in Medical Economics there may be some limitations that apply.

A Chance to Apply for Hardship Exceptions

For those providers facing payment adjustments in their incentive payments from The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) because they were unable to attest to meaningful use, there may be hope yet. On October 7th, CMS announced that some providers will still have a chance to apply for hardship exceptions.

The deadline, which was previously July 1st, 2014 for EPs and April 1st, 2014 for hospitals, has now been extended to November 30th, 2014, as long as the application is submitted by 11:59 pm EST. This extension will allow eligible professionals and hospitals that are unable to demonstrating meaningful use of their EHR systems in 2014 to avoid the 2015 penalties.

There are still limitations on who can apply, however. According to an article in Medical Economics, only those providers who meet one of the two following requirements are eligible to apply for a hardship exception.

  • EPs and hospitals couldn’t implement a certified EHR because of delays on the vendor’s part or in software availability
  • EPs and hospitals weren’t able to attest to meaningful use by their respective deadlines using flexibility options in the CMS final rule

In reopening the hardship application, physicians are given another opportunity for exemption from payment adjustments. CMS has made available a Hardship Exception Tool, which providers can use to help determine if they need to apply for a hardship exception. The penalty for not being able to attest to meaningful use with a certified EHR is 1%. Providers should be sure to apply by the deadline if they qualify.

The Hardship Exception Extension Application can be found at the CMS website along with further information on the deadline and who is eligible to apply.

Author: Apoorva Anupindi

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