CMS Extends EHR Attestation Deadline

Added on Feb 16, 2017

CMS Extends EHR Attestation Deadline
Industry Edge February 2017

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently extended the attestation deadline for hospitals and eligible physicians (EPs) participating in the Medicare Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Program to March 13 at 11:59 p.m. PT.

Providers participating in the program must attest to meeting 2016 requirements to avoid a 2018 payment adjustment. The new deadline aligns with the deadline for hospitals to submit electronic Clinical Quality Measure data for calendar year 2016 reporting to the Medicare EHR Incentive Program and Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting Program.

CMS did not explain the reason for the deadline change, although it has been suggested that the agency wants to give EPs every opportunity to attest before the window closes in light of some confusion over the deadline. The agency did not specify until November that the reporting period for meaningful use was 90 days in 2016, rather than the original full calendar year, and no hardship exceptions were granted for 2016 because of the late announcement of the reporting period.

Late last year, CMS reported that there are approximately 171,000 EPs who are subject to a downward payment adjustment in 2017 under Medicare for failing to meet meaningful use requirements. Payment adjustments for Medicare EPs occur two years from the actual attestation year; this means the penalties for 2017 are for 2015 reporting. The Medicare payment adjustments began for EPs on Jan. 1, 2015, and will sunset in 2018 per the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA).