is extending the deadline for physicians
and other eligible professionals to attest to meaningful use
for the Medicare EHR
incentive program for the 2013 reporting year and is offering some hospitals
a second chance at receiving payment—as well as possible relief from the program's 2015 penalties for failing to comply in 2013.
The new deadline for physicians is 11:59 p.m. March 31, pushed back from Feb. 28. The criteria still must have been met by Dec. 31, 2013, the end of the reporting period for the incentive payments.
“This extension will allow more time for providers to submit their meaningful-use data and receive an incentive payment for the 2013 program year, as well as avoid the 2015 payment adjustment,” the CMS said in a news release.
In addition, the agency is offering hospitals that “may have experienced difficulty attesting” by their Nov. 30, 2013 deadline for data submission a chance to submit their meaningful-use attestations retroactively. Since the Medicare EHR incentive payment program for hospitals operates on the fiscal year, the most recent period for them to meet the benchmarks ended Sept. 30, 2013.
Described by the CMS as a “one-time opportunity,” hospitals, can avoid the 2015 payment adjustments and still receive payment under the program. Hospitals must contact the CMS for assistance by 11:59 p.m. on March 15, 2014, to participate.
Neither of these new relief provisions impacts the Medicaid portion of the EHR incentive payment program. Both programs were created under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
and have paid out nearly $19.3 billion to more than 323,000 physicians and other professionals and 4,400 hospitals.Follow Joseph Conn on Twitter: @MHJConn