Eligible professionals and eligible hospitals may be exempt from payment adjustments if theycan show that demonstrating meaningful use would result in a significant hardship. To be considered for an exception, an eligible professional or eligible hospital must complete a Hardship Exception application along with proof of the hardship. If approved, the hardship exception is valid for 1 payment year only. A new application must be submitted if the hardship continues for the following payment year. In no case may a provider be granted an exception for more than 5 years.
If an eligible provider will be subject to an EHR payment adjustment starting in 2015, your option to try to avoid the penalty is to file a hardship exception application no later than July 1, 2014.
However, since May 30, 2014 the application system is not working correctly.
Here is how the application submission process is supposed to work:
- If the EP qualifies for a hardship exception for the payment adjustment, you complete the hardship application, save it as a PDF file; and email the file to:firstname.lastname@example.org
- Once the email is sent, you immediately receive an email confirmation from the CMS system indicating your email and file have been received. This email is vital as documentation to support the submission.
If you have submitted a hardship application; but did not receive the confirmatory email, please contact the EHR Help Desk to report the issue, and be sure to ask for a reference number for your call. The more CMS hears from EPs, the more likely, and hopefully quicker, CMS may fix the system. The deadline of July 1st is quickly approaching; and the system will only get busier. The telephone number for the Help Desk is 1-888-734-6433.
For further information about the EHR penalties and hardship exceptions, click here to review the CMS EHR Hardship Exception Tipsheet. In addition, click here to view the EHR Hardship Application Form.