Home > EHR, meaningful use, Medicare > CMS and ONC Meet with AMA, ACR, and Other National Societies On Meaningful Use

CMS and ONC Meet with AMA, ACR, and Other National Societies On Meaningful Use

On April 29, the American Medical Association (AMA) hosted the American College of Radiology and approximately 25 other specialty societies, for a meeting with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and HHS Office of the National Coordinator for HIT (ONC) on the three recent proposed rules to update the requirements of the EHR Incentive Program (“meaningful use”) and HIT certification program.

CMS and ONC provided presentations covering the three proposed rules and opened the floor for questions. I asked how many eligible professionals were avoiding MU penalties in 2015 through the significant hardship exception mechanism. The answer was roughly 55,000. I believe the 55,000 number must be exclusive to manual applications for hardship—i.e., did not include the automatically-awarded hardship exception for radiologists, pathologists, and anesthesiologists. Otherwise, it would have been much higher.

Under the draft paradigm in the Stage 3 MU proposed rule, any eligible physician who uses significant hardship exceptions to avoid penalties in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 would need to successfully participate in MU beginning on January 1, 2018 to avoid CY 2020 payment penalties… If 257,000 noncompliant physicians are currently getting Medicare payment penalties, 55,000 are currently avoiding penalties via manual but time-limited hardship exceptions, and roughly 60,000-85,000 are avoiding penalties via the automatic but time-limited hardship exception, 2018 could end up being a much bigger “D-Day” than anyone is currently predicting.

Of course, the Merit-Based Incentive Program (MIPS) mandate from the SGR reform legislation should significantly impact this predicament, hopefully in a positive way.

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Categories: EHR, meaningful use, Medicare
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