Meaningful Use Update from the AMA

The AMA continues its vigorous advocacy to push the administration to make improvements to Stages 1–2 of the EHR Meaningful Use (MU) program while also providing input on how Stage 3 can be used as an opportunity to vastly overhaul the program. The AMA is  meeting routinely with top policy makers in both the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) to discuss challenges physicians are facing with the program and where there are opportunities for change.

AMA officials  recognize that unless changes are made many physicians will face substantial financial penalties. Financial penalties start Jan. 1, 2015 in the form of a 1 percent cut to Medicare reimbursement (2 percent if physicians were unsuccessful in meeting the Medicare ePrescribing program requirements for 2014). Below are important deadlines and information to keep in mind:

  • CMS call about MU: May 29, 1:30-3:00 pm. Registration information to be posted soon here.
  • Reporting period: 90 days for all physicians in 2014 no matter when you started the program.
  • Avoiding penalties in 2015 (applies to Medicare only):
  1. —     New to MU in 2014: Can report on any 90-day period. Latest 90-day period to begin reporting is July 1. Must attest by Oct. 1.
  2. —     Physicians who started MU prior to 2014: Select a three-month reporting period fixed to a specific quarter of the calendar year.
  3. —     Medicare Hardship exceptions: Another way to avoid a financial penalty is to file for a hardship if you believe you qualify.
  • July 1, 2014 is the last day to file for a hardship
  • Hardships exceptions are valid for one year only
  • More information on the types of hardship exceptions available and the application can be found here.

Medicaid: Physicians should select a three-month reporting period fixed to a specific quarter of the calendar year.

For more information on MU visit the CMS EHR Incentive Programs website or the AMA website. For questions and on-site consulting help contact Terri Gonzalez, the North Carolina Medical Society’s Director of Practice Improvement via email or at 919-833-3836 x123.


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