EPs still behind on MU attestation with deadline looming

With only a month left for eligible professionals to attest to Stage 2 of the Meaningful Use program, only 15 percent have done so, officials from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT said during a HIT Standards Committee meeting this week.

In addition, of that 15 percent, many were able to successfully attest by getting a hardship extension, according to ONC's most recent statistics. ONC did point out that the majority of eligible hospitals (EHs) and eligible professionals (EPs) attest after their reporting year closes. EPs have until the end of February to attest.

Only 42 percent of eligible professionals were able to attest to Stage 2 in 2014; almost six in 10 EPs met those demands, ONC said during its first committee meeting Jan. 14.

Providers who do not attest by February may apply for a hardship extension by July 1. And as ONC's most recent numbers show, many are taking advantage of the extension. 

Roughly 55,000 EPs were approved for hardship exemptions by CMS over the course of two application processes that took place in 2014; about 2,000 applicants were denied the exemption, many of which, according to agency officials, had actually already met the Meaningful Use threshold and were simply confused by the rule.EPs that did not meet Meaningful Use are already being hit with penalties.

CMS announced in December that about 257,000 Medicare EPs will be hit with a 1 percent penalty to their Medicare Physician Fee Schedule payments for failing to meet MU by Oct. 1, 2014.

As far as eligible hospitals go, ONC's numbers show more positive growth. Nearly 90 percent of hospitals eligible for Stage 2 of Meaningful Use attested to the program's requirements, according to ONC.

To learn more:
- download the meeting notes (.ppt)