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CMS Releases Information for 2017 MU Payment Adjustments

September 6, 2016
by Rajiv Leventhal
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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has updated its fact sheet for 2017 Meaningful Use program payment adjustments for eligible hospitals.

As a reminder, eligible hospitals that do not successfully demonstrate meaningful use for an electronic health record (EHR) reporting period associated with a payment adjustment year will receive reduced Medicare payments for that year. The payment adjustments for the MU program began on Oct. 1, 2014 for eligible hospitals.

Newly updated for fiscal year 2017, eligible hospitals that were not meaningful EHR users in reporting year 2015 are subject to a payment adjustment beginning on Oct. 1, 2016. This payment adjustment is applied as a reduction to the applicable percentage increase to the Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) payment rate, thus reducing the update to the IPPS standardized amount for these hospitals. Eligible hospitals receive the payment adjustment amount that is tied to a specific fiscal year. The percentage decrease was 25 percent in 2015 for the 2013 reporting period; it is 50 percent in 2016 for the 2014 reporting period and 75 percent for 2017 and beyond for the 2015 reporting period.

What’s more, CMS announced that in total, 98 percent of eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals (CAHs) across the country have successfully demonstrated meaningful use at either Stage 1 or Stage 2.

Meanwhile, the healthcare IT industry continues to push CMS to implement a 90-day reporting period in 2016 rather than a full-year reporting period. The change for 2015 was made at the very last minute last year, but CMS has not yet made anything official for 2016, despite proposing this change in July. Under a 90-day reporting period, eligible hospitals and providers would be granted the flexibility of choosing any given quarter to report on their EHR meaningful use rather than being forced to report for the entire year.

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