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Congress Passes Bill to Ease Meaningful Use Hardship Exemptions

By: Nextech | January 4th, 2016

Congress Passes Bill to Ease Meaningful Use Hardship Exemptions Blog Feature

Prior to the end of the year, medical practitioners received some good news in regard to Meaningful Use.

President Barack Obama signed into law the Patient Access and Medicare Protection Act, also known as S.2425. According to the White House press release, the law "makes changes to Medicare payments for certain complex rehabilitation technology and radiation therapy services, provide flexibility in applying a hardship exception from meaningful use of electronic health records, and improve Medicare and Medicaid program integrity."healthcareit

In short, providers will have an easier time claiming a Meaningful Use hardship exception.

Shortly after the vote to pass the Patient Access and Medicare Protection Act, Congressional members voiced their support of the new law and it's creation of blanket Meaningful Use hardship exceptions for medical providers.

"Under the law prior to S.2425, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) could only grant such exemptions on a case-by-case basis, and that exemption process was inadequate and tedious," Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) wrote in a letter obatained by Politico. "We now believe reasonable options are provided for in S. 2425."

Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) issued a statement on the ruling, calling the vote a "giant step in supplying relief to the provider community" and vowed to monitor CMS in order to ensure this law is implemented accurately and effectively and provides relief to medical providers.

Providers must apply for exemptions by March 15, 2016 if they want to avoid any financial penalties that would be levied in the following year. 

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