The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that close to 209,000 physicians and other eligible health care professionals will receive a 2% penalty to their Medicare payments in 2016 for failing to achieve meaningful use in 2014. This represents approximately 40% of all professionals eligible for CMS’ Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Programs.
The programs require physicians and other eligible health care professionals to adopt certified EHR technology and use it to achieve specific objectives, thereby demonstrating they’re making meaningful use of EHRs in their practices.
Last month, President Barack Obama signed legislation authorizing CMS to provide a blanket exemption to all physicians who apply for hardship exemptions from Stage 2 EHR meaningful use penalties for the 2015 performance period, so few physicians are expected to receive penalties in 2017. Physicians will need to apply by July 1, 2016 for an exemption; this date is an extension of the original March 15, 2016, deadline.