Last week, CMS announced that it intends to reopen the submission period for hardship exception applications for eligible professionals and eligible hospitals to avoid the 2015 Medicare payment adjustments for not demonstrating meaningful use of Certified Electronic Health Record Technology (CEHRT). This reopening process will be addressed through future rulemaking. Previously, the hardship exception application deadline was April 1, 2014 for eligible hospitals and July 1, 2014 for eligible professionals; however, the new deadline will be November 30, 2014.

As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), Congress mandated payment adjustments under Medicare for eligible hospitals, critical access hospitals, and eligible professionals that are not meaningful users of CEHRT. The ARRA allows the Secretary to consider hardship exceptions for eligible hospitals, critical access hospitals, and eligible professionals to avoid the payment adjustments.

This reopened hardship exception application submission period is limited to the following circumstances for eligible professionals and eligible hospitals that:

  • Have been unable to fully implement 2014 Edition CEHRT due to delays in 2014 Edition CEHRT availability; and
  • Eligible professionals who were unable to attest by October 1, 2014 and eligible hospitals that were unable to attest by July 1, 2014 using the flexibility options provided in the CMS 2014 CEHRT Flexibility Rule.

We will continue to monitor the rulemaking process related to this extension.