Has the Meaningful Use Deadline Been Changed?!
by Leigh-Ann Renz, 6/5/14
You Still Need to Act by 7/1/14 for Medicare Meaningful Use
After all of our hard work in clarifying the Meaningful Use deadlines, CMS has issued a Proposed Rule that would extend Stage 2 through 2016 and relax requirements to achieve MU in 2014. While this has generated a great deal of confusion (see We Have Entered Zombie Land and Can You Wait 60 Days to Decide), the question I'm most concerned with at this time is: does the 7/1/14 deadline still apply for EPs participating for the first time in Medicare MU?
As with most tricky MU questions, we went to our source: Jim Tate of EMR Advocate. Apparently, CMS has not provided specific clarification on that question. Up until the Proposed Rule, there was a 7/1/14 deadline for Medicare EPs: if you qualify for the Medicare MU program and don't participate in either the Medicaid or Medicare attestation (you have to choose one, can't attest to both), you may be subject to a penalty on all of your Medicare reimbursements, starting in 2015. See Do I Have to Use EHR? for details.
In trying to find out whether or not our clients will be hit with that penalty - whether that deadline still applies in light of the Proposed Rule, there is apparently not yet a clear answer, perhaps because the public comment period is open until 7/21. Until the rule has been finalized, it wouldn't be prudent for CMS to officially extend that deadline.
Our (and Jim Tate's) recommendation is for those first year EPs to either purchase a 2014 Edition software - or apply for the hardship exemption for 2015 - by 6/30/14.
For help choosing a certified EHR, see 7 Steps to Finding the Right EHR for Your Practice. For more information about using PIMSY mental health EHR as your certified solution, contact us. Click here for the EP Hardship Exemption Application and see MU Hardship Exemption for more information.
Jim Tate is known as the most experienced authority on the CMS Meaningful Use (MU) EHR Incentive Programs. Jim founded EMR Advocate, Inc. which has led over 200 EHR vendors through their certification projects and has authored numerous articles on health information technology adoption and meaningful use. He is a Subject Matter Expert to the federally funded Regional Extension Centers and works closely with providers on incentive audits and appeals.