CHA News Article

CMS Intends to Reopen Application for EHR Hardship Extensions Until Nov. 30
Establishes reconsideration process for payment penalties; deadline Oct. 31

This week, CMS made two important announcements. First, it intends to reopen the submission period — until Nov. 30 — for hardship applications for eligible professionals and hospitals to avoid the federal fiscal year (FFY) 2015 Medicare payment penalties for not demonstrating meaningful use of certified electronic health record technology (CEHRT). Previously, the hardship exception deadline was April 1, 2014, for hospitals and July 1, 2014, for eligible professionals. CMS said it will only consider applications from hospitals that were unable to fully implement 2014 Edition Certified EHR Technology due to delays in CEHRT availability, and that were unable to attest under the flexibility options provided in the recent 2014 Edition CEHRT flexibility rule. Second, CMS announced that hospitals that believe they are subject to a payment penalty in error for FFY 2015 may apply for payment adjustment reconsideration by Oct. 31.

While the attached CMS guidance expresses the agency’s intent to reopen the submission period, CMS would need to go through the formal rulemaking process before it would be official. CMS notes that it intends to proceed in rulemaking and has made available the application for the hardship extension, also attached. CHA will notify members when the rule has been formally proposed and does not believe CMS can act on the reconsideration requests until rulemaking is complete.

Hospitals were notified via certified mail if they were going to be subject to a meaningful use penalty for 2015. CHA does not currently have a list of those hospitals but has requested the list to ensure that hospitals are aware of this newly created reconsideration process. For more information on both the hardship exception and payment adjustment reconsideration, visit www.cms.gov/Regulations-and-Guidance/Legislation/EHRIncentivePrograms/PaymentAdj_Hardship.html.

Finally, CMS has announced a national provider call to address the 2014 CEHRT flexibility rule. The call is scheduled for Oct. 30 at 11 a.m. (PT). Additional information is available on the CMS website.

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