Meaningful Use Hardship Exemption

February 17, 2016

Prior to adjourning for the holidays, Congress passed the Patient Access and Medicare Protection Act (PAMPA), which directed the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to make AMA-supported changes to the Medicare EHR Incentive Program hardship exception process that allows physicians to avoid a Meaningful Use (MU) penalty in 2017. 

The AMA is encouraging ALL physicians subject to the 2015 Medicare MU program to apply for the hardship. CMS has stated that it will broadly accept hardship exemptions because of the delayed publication of the program regulations. Applying for the hardship will not prevent a physician from earning an incentive. It simply protects a physician from receiving an MU penalty. Therefore, physicians who believe that they met the MU requirements for the 2015 reporting period should still apply for the hardship protection. Note that the program operates on a two-year look-back period, meaning that physicians who are granted an exception for the 2015 program will avoid a financial penalty for 2017.  

Step-by-step instructions for completing the hardship exception application.

The application must be received by CMS by 11:59PM ET on March 15, 2016.