Upcoming Meaningful Use Hardship Exception Deadline

Summer’s here, and the July 4 holiday weekend is around the corner. Before packing your bags or lighting up the grill, take a moment to review the meaningful use hardship exception guidelines. The deadline to apply for a hardship exception and avoid a 2017 payment adjustment is July 1 at 11:59 pm ET.

You do not need to file a hardship exception if any one of these scenarios applies to you:

  • You successfully demonstrated meaningful use in 2015;
  • You’re a hospital-based provider; or
  • You’re a new eligible professional who began filing Medicare or Medicaid claims in 2015.

A hardship exception could exempt you from Medicare payment penalties in 2017 if you failed to achieve meaningful use in 2015 and you met one of the following circumstances:

  • Insufficient internet connectivity
  • Extreme and uncontrollable circumstances (a natural disaster, practice closure, bankruptcy, failure of your certified EHR)
  • Lack of certified EHR availability
  • Lack of face-to-face interaction or follow up

There’s no hardship exemption for not knowing about the Modified Stage 2 meaningful use changes that were published in October.

The timeline for hardship exceptions and payment adjustments can be confusing since the payment adjustments occur two years after the participation year.

If you failed to participate in this calendar year… File for a hardship exception by this date… To avoid a payment adjustment in this year…
2015 July 1, 2016 2017
2016 TBD 2017 2018

For more information, refer to the following resources: