CMS extends Meaningful Use attestation deadline for EPs

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced Wednesday that it has pushed back the deadline for eligible professionals to attest to Meaningful Use, as well as the EHR reporting option for providers participating in the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), to March 20.

The deadline extension will allow EPs more time to submit their MU data, CMS said in the announcement emailed to FierceEMR. In addition, it allows EPs who have not used their one switch to go from Medicare to Medicaid or vice versa more time to do so for the 2014 year.

The original deadline for attestation was Feb. 28.

As of January, EPs were still struggling with attesting to Stage 2 of MU--only 15 percent had done so by the end of the month, officials from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT said during a HIT Standards Committee meeting.

The American Medical Association applauded the extension, but also criticized the program, saying that the new deadline "underscores that the Meaningful Use program" is failing.

"The AMA ... is concerned that the program will still face low participation rates without substantial changes to its rigid requirements," AMA President-Elect Steven Stack said in a statement.

This isn't the first--nor probably the last--change to Meaningful Use CMS has to announced.

Late last month, the agency announced it intends to issue a new rule that would "update" the Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs, and shorten the attesting reporting period in 2015 from 365 days to 90 days in order to "accommodate" those changes.

And earlier this month, CMS officials revealed estimates that eligible providers who are subject to penalties under the Meaningful Use program could pay roughly $200 million in 2015. The figure was shared by Elizabeth Myers of CMS' Office of E-Health Standards and Services at a joint meeting of the Office of the National Coordinator's Health IT Policy and Standards committees this week. Myers stressed that the number was based on historical claims data for the providers being penalized.

To learn more:
- here's the AMA statement