Hospitals participating in the Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program will face penalties starting Oct. 1 if they do not demonstrate meaningful use of EHR technology by July 1, 2014. To avoid the penalty, hospitals that have not previously participated in the program must begin their meaningful use reporting period by April 1 and attest to meaningful use by July 1.
On March 10, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that hospitals encountering significant hardship in demonstrating meaningful use of EHR technology may apply for a hardship exception. These hospitals must submit an application by April 1 demonstrating that they did not meet meaningful use requirements due to circumstances beyond their control.
On March 11, CMS released additional guidance on the payment penalty and hardship exceptions for eligible hospitals and, in particular, hardship exceptions for hospitals that cannot demonstrate meaningful use due to a failure to implement 2014 certified EHR technology.
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