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HIMSS Backs CMS’ Decision to Reopen Meaningful Use Hardship Exception Period

October 10, 2014
by Rajiv Leventhal
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The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) has backed the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)’ decision to reopen the period in which eligible professionals (EPs) and eligible hospitals (EHs) can apply for a meaningful use hardship exception.

In a statement released Oct. 7, HIMSS showed support in acknowledgement of the difficulties faced in meeting the July and October 2014 attestation dates. “HIMSS has expressed these same concerns to the administration, and looks forward to working with CMS further with the release of additional rulemaking on this issue.  In addition, HIMSS strongly recommends CMS adjust the 2015 meaningful use requirement to one, three-month quarterly reporting period instead of a full year,” the statement read.

For the hardship exception, CMS made the new deadline Nov. 30, 2014; the original deadline was April 1, 2014 for EHs and July 1, 2014 for EPs. The agency sent out a notice that said the added hardship exception application period is for EPs and EHs who were unable to attest by October 1 and July 1 respectively because their fully implement 2014 Edition certified electronic health record technology (CEHRT) was not available.

The American Medical Association (AMA) was also supportive of the decision, releasing a statement saying that “this change will allow more physicians to avoid an unfair meaningful use financial penalty in 2015.”

Not all industry associations have shown such support to CMS, however. Earlier this week, speaking exclusively to Healthcare Informatics, Russell P. Branzell, CEO of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), said that those who can benefit from the hardship exception include a narrow band of EPs and EHs that didn’t attest last year, were going to try to attest by Oct. 1, and use 2011 certified electronic health record technology (CEHRT). “We’re trying to find someone who even is eligible for this based on the criteria they let out,” Branzell said to HCI.

 

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