Congress Expedites 2015 Meaningful Use Stage 2 Exemptions

In December, Congress adopted S 2425, known as the Patient Access and Medicare Protection Act, which included a provision granting the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) the authority to expedite applications for exemptions from meaningful use Stage 2 requirements for the 2015 calendar year.

To avoid a penalty under the meaningful use program, eligible professionals must attest that they met the requirements for meaningful use Stage 2 for a period of 90 consecutive days during calendar year 2015. 

CMS did not publish the modification rule for Stage 2 meaningful use until Oct. 16, 2015. As a result, eligible professionals weren't informed of the revised program requirements until fewer than the 90 required days remained in the calendar year. 

CMS has previously stated that it will grant hardship exemptions for 2015 if eligible providers are unable to attest due to the lateness of the rule. But under current law, CMS can  grant such exemptions only on a case-by-case basis. This means that many physicians will be required to apply for exemptions and that CMS will have to act on each application individually.

A provision of the legislation adopted by Congress would grant CMS the authority to process requests for hardship exemptions to physicians through a more streamlined process, alleviating burdensome administrative problems for doctors and the agency. 

Action, Jan. 5, 2016

Last Updated On

December 28, 2015

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