We can all breathe a meaningful sigh of relief. President Obama must still sign on the dotted line, but The Patient Access and Medicare Protection Act (S. 2425) was passed by both chambers of Congress on Friday, December 18. The bill will ensure that eligible professionals and hospitals have flexibility in applying the hardship exception for Meaningful Use for the 2015 EHR reporting period for 2017 payment adjustments.
“Passage is a good thing because it provides another year (2017) of relief for physicians and hospitals who may not have been ready to reach Meaningful Use and don’t want to suffer a payment adjustment,” says David Ginsberg, president of PrivaPlan Associates.
As you may recall, the earlier modifications rule for Stage 2 of the Meaningful Use program for EHR did not give physicians and hospitals enough time to actually comply with the new requirements. The recently passed bill includes language from the Meaningful Use Hardship Relief Act (H.R. 3940) that had been assigned to a congressional committee in November.
Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.), who had co-sponsored that Act, wrote about the latest bill passing, “Congress is taking a giant step in supplying relief to the provider community—and helping patients receive better, seamless care. Moving forward, this process will now allow doctors to avoid erroneous penalties that would have otherwise caused harm for patients seeking quality care.”
When the bill is signed into law, Ginsberg says PrivaPlan will provide more details as to when eligible professionals and hospitals can submit an exemption, if needed. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, for your HIPPA compliance issues, drop us a line or call 877-218-7707.