Avoid meaningful use penalties: CMS accepting hardship applications again

October 7, 2014

Physicians may have another opportunity to avoid meaningful use financial penalties in 2015.

Physicians may have another opportunity to avoid meaningful use (MU) financial penalties in 2015.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that physicians and hospitals can continue to apply for hardship exceptions until 11:59 p.m. EST on November 30.

Eligible professionals (EPs) and eligible hospitals may apply for a hardship exception if:

  • EPs were unable to fully attest to meaningful use by October 1, and hospitals were unable to attest by July 1 using the flexibility options in the final rule issued in August.  

Providers who receive hardship exceptions will avoid the 1% reduction in their Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements next year.

READ: Financial penalties nearing for physician incentive programs

The initial application process closed on July 1, and CMS announced that it had received about 44,000 applications. However, several organizations had called for an extension.

“Giving physicians more time to file for a hardship exemption provides necessary relief as many physicians are struggling to meet a number of reporting mandates to avoid multiple penalties,” Robert M. Wah, MD, president of the American Medical Association, said in a written statement. “The AMA remains committed, however, to ensuring that the Meaningful Use program requirements are in fact meaningful and deliver the intended improvements in patient care and practice efficiencies.”