Hardship Exception Applications for ACI Participation Available Now

Sometimes, things happen that are out of your control.

You never know when you'll experience what the government calls "insufficient internet connectivity." (Really, they do call it that.) Or you wake up one morning to find you lack control over the availability of certified electronic health record technology (CEHRT). Sometimes, the only explanation is extreme or uncontrollable circumstances.

Well, if you're eligible for the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), and any or all of the above-mentioned hardships are preventing you from meeting the requirements of the Advancing Care Information (ACI) performance category, you might be eligible for a 2017 hardship exception.

How about that?

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (that's the CMS if you like to be efficient) recently posted a 2017 Hardship Exception Application on the Quality Payment Program website. If you qualify, your ACI category will be reweighted to 0 percent of your final MIPS score. That means it won't count toward your score.

Want to know if you're automatically MIPS-exempt? (You might be.) Click here.

And if none of this makes any sense, here are the ABCs of ACI: Remember the Medicare electronic health record (EHR) incentive program known as meaningful use? Well, ACI replaces that. ACI makes up 25 percent of your MIPS performance measurement and requires that you use a certified — let me repeat, certified — EHR. If you still need more information, TMA's ACI webpage has a ton of resources.

But the hardship exceptions don't just stop at ACI. 

First-time participants in the Medicare meaningful use program in 2017 could be eligible for a one-time hardship exception

You may apply for this hardship to avoid a 2018 payment adjustment (government speak for "Medicare penalty") if: 

  • You are participating in the meaningful use program for the first time in 2017 and will attest to 2017 performance before the Feb. 28, 2018, deadline, and
  • You are transitioning to the QPP MIPS for the 2017 performance period, and 
  • You are planning to report on the measures specified for the ACI performance category under MIPS in 2017.  

If this sounds like you, you might want to apply for that exception soon: Applications are due by Oct. 1.

If you have questions about MIPS or the meaningful use program, e-mail TMA's HIT Helpline or call (800) 880-5720.

Action, Aug. 15, 2017

Last Updated On

August 15, 2017

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