CMS reduces meaningful use reporting period to 90 days — 5 things to know

CMS cut the reporting period for physicians involved in the meaningful use EHR inventive program from a full year to 90 days as part of its outpatient prospective payment system final rule, according to Medscape.

Here are five things to know:

1. For new meaningful use participants who are transitioning to CMS' Merit-Based Incentive Payment System, the final rule finalized a one-time hardship exception. Such participants can report once next year to meet meaningful use criteria and MIPS' Advancing Care Information section, thereby evading a negative payment adjustment in 2018.

2. The 2015 physician payment rule stated physicals have until Feb. 28, 2017 to attest to meaningful use for 2017. The new rule maintains this date, except for those physicians and hospitals that have not previously demonstrated meaningful use. These parties have until Oct. 1, 2017 to meet meaningful uses' modified stage 2 criteria and avoid penalties in 2018.

3. In its final rule, CMS does not give details about hardship exceptions for physicians who did not participate in meaningful use this year. If these providers want to begin measure their performance now, there is not sufficient time in 2016 to report for 90 days. In 2015, Congress required CMS to provide mass hardship exceptions to physicians who hadn't attested to meaningful use when this scenario happened. While CMS did provide this exception early this year, many are wondering if the agency will offer these blanket exemption to nonattesting providers at this point in time.

4. American Medical Association applauded CMS' final 90-day reporting period, although the organization did not provide a comment on the hardship exceptions. Medscape reports this exemption may indicate that the AMA does not believe the final rule's late release will negatively impact providers.

5. American College of Physicians also support CMS' final rule, telling Medscape Medical News that, "We continue to encourage CMS to issue final rules that impact reporting timelines earlier in the calendar year so that there is a clear expectation and timeline for both physicians and the government."

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