A Republican congresswoman from Tennessee has introduced legislation that would exempt solo practitioners and physicians nearing retirement from the upcoming Medicare reimbursement cuts for physicians who do not meet meaningful-use requirements for electronic health-record systems under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Rep. Diane Lynn Black, a former nurse and member of the House Budget and Ways and Means committees, re-introduced her Electronic Health Records Improvement Act last month.
Physicians who don't meet meaningful-use targets this year under the Medicare version of the EHR incentive payment program face a 1% cut in their Medicare reimbursements in 2015.
Black's bill provides a three-year exemption from the penalties for payment years 2015 through 2017 if physicians or other eligible professional, collectively known as EPs, are "solo practice” or are “at or near retirement age,” defined as eligible for Social Security on the last day of Dec. 31, 2015 or attain early retirement age “during the 5-year period following” that day.
The bill also would rebate the amount of a reduced payment in 2015, and in years thereafter, if the eligible professional meets the meaningful-use criteria that year.