Did you know the submission deadline for Eligible Professionals (EPs) to submit an application for a 2016 Medicare EHR Incentive Program hardship extension is 11:59 PM EDT July 1, 2015? The hardship exception will be granted under specific circumstances if CMS determines that providers have demonstrated that those circumstances pose a significant barrier to their achieving meaningful use.
Eligible Professionals can apply for hardship exceptions based on the following:
- Infrastructure: EPs must demonstrate they are in an area without significant internet access or other insurmountable barriers to obtaining infrastructure.
- New Eligible Professionals: Newly practicing EPs who have not had the time to become "meaningful users" can apply for a 2 year limited exception to payment adjustments.
- Unforeseen Circumstances: Such as a natural disaster of other unforeseen barrier.
- Patient Interaction: Lack of face-to-face interactions with patients or lack of follow-up needed with patients.
- Practice at Multiple Locations: Lack of control over availability of CEHRT for more than 50% of patient encounters.
- There are "2014 EHR vendor issues," which applies if the EHR vendor did not receive 2014 certification, if the practice was unable to implement a certified EHR in time to demonstrate meaningful use, or if the practice did not have enough time to incorporate Stage 2 workflows in time to demonstrate meaningful use.
It should be noted that not every application for an exception will be approved, the exemption is for 1 year, and subsequent years will require a reapplication. Documentation, such as notice from an EHR vendor regarding the availability of a 2014 certified edition of their system, will increase the likelihood that an application will be approved.
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