CMS extends MU hospital attestation deadline to Dec. 31

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has taken yet another measure to throw a lifeline to providers struggling with Meaningful Use attestation, this time extending the attestation deadline for eligible hospitals (EHs) and critical access hospitals (CAHs) for the 2014 reporting year to Dec. 31, 2014. EHs and CAHs who attest by that date will be able to receive a payment and avoid the 2016 Medicare payment adjustment.

The original deadline was Nov. 30.

The announcement, made Nov. 24, also extends the deadline for EHs and CAHs who are electronically submitting clinical quality measures to meet that requirement. The extension does not apply to the Medicaid Meaningful Use program.

CMS additionally offers EHs and CAHs attestation tips, such as logging on to attest during non-peak hours, logging on now to ensure that the providers' information is up to date and to calling the help desk to report any problems.

CMS' announcement does not address the reasoning behind the deadline change, which is likely due to the low numbers of providers attesting to Meaningful Use in 2014. As of Nov. 1, only 43,898 eligible professionals (EPs) and 1,903 EHs had attested for the 2014 reporting period, despite the fact that there are now more than 500,000 active registrants signed up for the Meaningful Use program, according to the latest data from CMS.

Of those attesters, just 11,478 EPs and 840 EHs attested to Stage 2 of Meaningful Use.

Providers have been struggling to transition to Stage 2 of the Meaningful Use program all year. In response, CMS had also softened the requirement that providers must use 2014 certified EHRs and extended the hardship extension for providers who could not attest because of EHR vendor-related problems. However, many have said that these changes are insufficient.

To learn more:
- here's the updated website