CMS: 257K Eligible Professionals To Get Meaningful Use Penalties

December 17, 2014 in News

More than 257,000 eligible professionals will receive a penalty starting Jan. 1 for failing to meet Medicare meaningful use requirements, according to a CMS official, EHR Intelligence reports (Murphy, EHR Intelligence, 12/17).

Background

Under the 2009 economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health records can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.

In October, CMS extended the deadline for certain eligible providers and hospitals had until Nov. 30 to file hardship exception applications to avoid the fiscal year 2015 Medicare payment adjustments for not demonstrating meaningful use of certified electronic health record technology (iHealthBeat, 10/7).

Penalty Details

During a call with reporters, a CMS official said over the next few weeks the agency will send letters to providers notifying them of a 1% reduction in Medicare payments for not meeting program criteria.

According to EHR Intelligence, more than 28,000 eligible professionals will receive a 2% reduction for failing to comply with both the electronic prescribing incentive program and the Medicare meaningful use program.

The official said the Medicare payment adjustments will take effect Jan. 5 and providers will be able to apply for reconsideration if they feel they are being incorrectly penalized (EHR Intelligence, 12/7).

According to CMS, slightly more than 200 eligible hospitals also received penalties for not meeting meaningful use standards. However, those penalties began to take effect Oct. 1.

CMS said about 55,000 eligible professionals were approved for hardship exemptions. The agency noted that it denied about 2,000 applications but many of those had already met meaningful use requirements (Bowman, FierceEMR, 12/17).

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