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Earlier this month, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that they will authorize eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals to request EHR Incentive Program (Meaningful Use) hardship exceptions until July 1, 2016, to avoid changes in their Medicare payments in 2017.
Before the adjustment, deadlines for hardship applications fell on March 15 for eligible professionals and April 1 for hospitals and critical access hospitals.
This change is the result of received inquiries and comments directed toward CMS. The providers who spoke out had plenty to say about the hardship application and its new process. To be fair to those affected by the new process, CMS felt the July 1 deadline would allow sufficient time to apply for the hardship application.
Moreover, CMS said it is willing to make exceptions in certain cases for providers unable to meet the deadline and meaningful use requirements of the EHR incentive payment program. It will grant exemptions for internet connectivity issues or for those who lack the availability of certified software.
The hardship exception application forms are posted on the CMS website as well as any other supporting information related to the deadline and its new extension.