Advocacy & Practice Updates — Advocacy & Practice

First-Time EHR Incentive Program Participants May Be Penalized for Not Meeting October 1 Deadline

Penalty will not apply to Part B drugs

First-time participants attempting to meet the October 1 deadline for the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program could face 2015 penalties, even though the final rule eases requirements for meaningful use.

The final rule allows physicians in some circumstances to attest to meaningful use this year using 2011 certified EHR systems. Some first-time attesters using older systems may be hit with a penalty for not meeting the October 1 deadline because the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will not update its own attestation system to accept the older technology until mid-October. If this glitch results in you being penalized, it is too late to apply for a hardship exemption, because that application deadline expired July 1.

The penalty will be a 1% adjustment to covered services under the Medicare physician fee schedule. This penalty does not apply to Part B drugs.

First-time participants will be able to avoid 2016 penalties by attesting with older technology once CMS updates its systems. CMS has not announced when those updates will occur.

Physicians beyond their first year of meaningful use must begin reporting by October 3 to comply with the 2014 90-day reporting requirement.

ASRS will continue to monitor this situation and alert members to any updates from CMS.

Updated September 26, 2014