Bloomberg BNA's Health IT Law & Industry Report brings you concise, comprehensive, and timely news and analysis of the regulatory, legal, and compliance issues surrounding our nation’s...
A bill (H.R. 1309) introduced March 21 by Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) promises to remove barriers some eligible professionals face in participating in the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records Incentive programs.
The EHR Improvements Act would create two new, limited exemptions for Medicare-participating eligible professionals. The exemption provisions would:
• allow solo practitioners (small practices with one physician) to qualify for a hardship exemption because of limited capital, time, and staff resources; and
• allow physicians who will be eligible for Social Security by 2015 to qualify for a retirement exemption of no more than three years.
According to a bill summary provided to BNA by Black's staff, the new exemptions are needed to protect from upcoming penalties those physicians--because of practice size or age--who may not be able to meet “meaningful use” requirements.
Medicare-participating eligible professionals who do not meet meaningful use program criteria by 2015 are subject to payment adjustments of 1 percent per year, up to a maximum of 5 percent. There are no such penalties under the Medicaid program.
The bill also would eliminate Medicare payment penalties for eligible professionals successfully participating in the Medicaid meaningful use program and earning Medicaid EHR Incentive Program payments, but not fully in compliance with the final phase of the program for Medicare purposes.
The Medicaid incentive program is being implemented by states over a longer time period than the Medicare program.
Other bill provisions would allow certain physicians to meet meaningful use quality reporting requirements through participation in their specialties' disease or practice registry programs, as recognized by the health and human services secretary.
Certain specialists--such as anesthesiologists and others whose practices do not involve traditional office visits with patients--would be exempted from certain meaningful use requirements, under the bill.
The provisions address concerns from specialists who have argued to CMS that the program does not apply to their practices.
In a March 19 letter to Black, a coalition of specialty physician groups said the meaningful use program needed to be reformed, largely because of cost constraints on small practices to participate.
Among other provisions, the bill would require CMS to establish an appeals process no later than Jan. 1, 2015, for providers penalized under the Medicare incentive program for not meeting meaningful use criteria. CMS also would be required to align the meaningful use program with other programs that have similar requirements, including the Physician Quality Reporting System.
The bill has been sent to the House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means committees.
The text of the bill is available at http://op.bna.com/hl.nsf/r?Open=kcpk-965rx4.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)