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AOA Warns – Be wary of flawed hardship exception advice!

Much like the mistaken reports of meaningful use’s end… 

AOA has seen advice circulating to doctors that misconstrues the EHR Incentive Program hardship exception.

Members may want to read the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS’) FAQs for themselves, and should be aware that the AOA interpretation is shared by the American Medical Association (AMA). The AMA recently released its own memo, How to Avoid the 2017 Meaningful Use Payment Penalty, stating, “The AMA is encouraging ALL physicians subject to the 2015 Medicare MU program to apply for the hardship.”

Click here for the FAQ on final rule publication timing.

Click here for the FAQ on the documentation requirement.

Based on CMS’ changes and because applying for hardship exceptions does not adversely impact attestation for meaningful use, the AOA encourages all members—both attesting and not attesting to 2015 meaningful use—to apply for this hardship exception if they suspect they might not meet requirements. Failure to attest results in a 3-percent penalty on all Medicare medical eye care claims in 2017.

Members should immediately apply for the “extreme and uncontrollable circumstances” hardship exception, since there was no time to plan for the revised program requirements. (Select section 2.2d when completing the 2017 application.) 

CMS must receive hardship exception applications by 11:59 p.m. ETMarch 15, 2016.

Click here to read more on why AOA encourages members to apply for the hardship exception.