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171k clinicians face Medicare penalties in 2017: 5 things to know

CMS will penalize several clinicians in 2017 for not complying with meaningful use requirements demonstrating EHR use in 2015, according to a Medscape report.

Here are five things to know:

1. The agency reported 171,000 physicians, nurse practitioners and other clinicians are slated for a 3 percent pay cut from Medicare because they didn't meet MU requirements in 2015. it's uncertain whether the penalties will remain when President-elect Donald Trump takes office.

2. The decision is controversial, as CMS issued the final Stage 2 ruling for MU on Oct. 6, 2015, stating clinicians needed to meet the requirements during a 90-day period, but there were less than 90 days remaining in the year.

3. Due to the compressed schedule, Congress allowed CMS to grant MU hardship exemptions for "an entire category of physicians." A large number of physicians didn't take advantage of the exemptions.

4. MGMA blames CMS for the penalties, stating the agency didn't conduct sufficient outreach to educate physicians about the exemption.

5. In 2016, 209,000 clinicians were penalized, down from 256,000 the previous year.

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