Stage 2 Meaningful Use Hardship Exemption
Detailed Guidance Expected in Coming Weeks
Recently, at the 2014 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference, CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner announced that CMS would be granting flexibility in hardship exemptions to certain qualifying providers who are not able to meet the new requirements for Stage 2 of Meaningful Use in the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Program. This exemption would allow providers who made an effort to comply, but were unable to because of a lack of available EHR technology, an inability to upgrade to current EHR products, or an inability to incorporate Stage 2 requirements in the provider’s workflow, an exemption from penalties. Further details were not announced, but they should be released in the coming weeks.
Previous efforts from provider groups have asked for a defined 6 or 12 month delay of the Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements, but CMS has consistently reaffirmed the deadlines from the Stage 2 final regulation that was published in August 2012. The announcement of flexibility in hardship exemptions appears to be the tool that the agency plans to utilize on a case-by-case basis at this point, rather than issuing an overall blanket delay for the entire provider community.
In addition to the hardship exemption announcement, Administrator Tavenner reaffirmed the timeline for transition to ICD-10. That transition must be completed by the October 1, 2014 deadline.
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