CMS Meaningful Use Deadline ExtendedCMS has announced that it is extending the deadline for eligible professionals to attest to Meaningful Use for the 2014 reporting year from Feb. 28 to March 20, 2015.

CMS says that EPs now have until 11:59 PM ET on March 20 to comply with the EHR attestation deadline. CMS also announced that the EHR reporting option for PQRS has been extended to March 20, 2015.

However, the agency has emphasized that the Medicare extension does not affect deadlines for the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program.

In the announcement, CMS urged providers to begin attesting for 2014 as soon as possible, in spite of the extension. Estimates are that EPs will pay about $200 million this year in Medicare payment reductions for failing to become meaningful users of EHRs

Eligible providers are required to attest to CMS’ Meaningful Use program annually in order to receive an inventive payment and avoid Medicare payment reductions. Providers who do not attest successfully for the 2014 program year will see a payment reduction from CMS beginning January 1, 2016.

In recognition of the difficulties with Meaningful Use, CMS announced recently that it intended to reduce the reporting period for 2015 from a full year to 90 days, as it was for 2014. CMS is also expected to publish the Meaningful Use Stage 3 Proposed Rule soon, and is expected to address the need to have EHR certification criteria and certified EHR technology in place when Stage 3 goes into effect, which will be no later than 2017.

Thousands of providers encountered difficulties with Meaningful Use Stage 2 in 2014 due to the lack of appropriate certification on the part of EHR vendors.

MediTouch has been 2014 Meaningful Use Stage 2 certified since June 2013. We discussed the challenges preventing providers from successfully attesting to Meaningful Use Stage 2 in previous blog posts, and hope that CMS will move as quickly as possible toward a real solution to the problem.

We’ll keep you posted on any additional news on the Meaningful Use and PQRS programs. For an overview of PQRS, view our recent webinar, PQRS: What You Need to Know and How to Report.