CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner announced on March 11, 2014, an expansion of the hardship exemption available to eligible providers who were unable to attest to being meaningful users under the Stage 2 Meaningful Use Rule in 2013.  In addition to the original bases for a hardship exemption, the exemption also will be available for those eligible providers who were unable to successfully attest due to delays in their EHR’s certification and other “EHR vendor issues.”

Applications for eligible hospitals (available here) are due by April 1, 2014.  Applications for eligible professionals (available here) are due by July 1, 2014.  Applications may be submitted electronically via email at this e-mail address.

The exemption will apply for the 2015 payment year only, meaning that eligible providers that did not qualify as meaningful users in 2013 would be exempt from the FY 2015 Medicare payment adjustment.

The eligible professional application notes that hospital-based eligible professionals, including those physicians enrolled in the Provider Enrollment, Chain, and Ownership System (PECOS) with a specialty in diagnostic radiology, nuclear medicine, interventional radiology, anesthesiology, and pathology, do not need to complete the hardship exemption application and will automatically be exempt from any payment adjustment in 2015.