The passage of the Patient Access and Medicare Protection Act was a significant win for healthcare providers stressed about being able to attest to meaningful use. The legislation, signed into law by President Obama in late December, allows eligible hospitals and eligible physicians to apply for a hardship exceptions under the 'unforeseen circumstances' category.
Furthermore, the law allows the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to grant hardships not just on a case-by-case basis, but also to 'categories' with the deadline of March 15, 2016 for EPs and April 1, 2016 for EHs, after which time CMS would still have the case-by-case authority to grant hardship exemptions until July 1, 2016.
Earlier this year, CMS proposed modifications to the Stage 2 Meaningful Use rule and proposed its final leg of the program - Stage 3. However, the rulings were released late, leaving providers little time to prepare for the new attestation requirements. At the urging of several professional organizations and industry stakeholders, Congress passed the Patient Access and Medicare Protection Act, which allows for hardship exemption applications.
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