Stage 2 Meaningful Use Proposes New Adjustment Schedule
The Final Rule for Stage 1 Meaningful Use specified a payment adjustment effective in CY 2015 and subsequent years for EPs who are not meaningful users of certified EHR technology.
Section 1848(a)(7) of the Act, as amended by section 4101(b) of the HITECH Act, provides for payment adjustments effective for CY 2015 and subsequent years for EPs who are not meaningful EHR users during the relevant EHR reporting period for the year. In general, beginning in 2015, if an EP is not a meaningful EHR user for any EHR reporting period for the year, then the Medicare physician fee schedule amount for covered professional services furnished by the EP during the year (including the fee schedule amount for purposes of determining a payment based on the fee schedule amount) is adjusted to equal the ‘‘applicable percent’’ of the fee schedule amount (defined below) that would otherwise apply. The HITECH Act includes a significant hardship exception, discussed below, which, if applicable, could exempt certain EPs from this payment adjustment. The payment adjustments do not apply to hospital based EPs.
The term ‘‘applicable percent’’ means: ‘‘(I) for 2015, 99 percent (or, in the case of an EP who was subject to the application of the payment adjustment if the EP is not a successful electronic prescriber under section 1848(a)(5) for 2014, 98 percent); (II) for 2016, 98 percent; and (III) for 2017 and each subsequent year, 97 percent.’
’In addition, section 1848(a)(7)(iii) of the Act provides that if for 2018 and subsequent years the Secretary finds that the proportion of EPs who are meaningful EHR users is less than 75 percent, the applicable percent shall be decreased by 1 percentage point from the applicable percent in the preceding year, but in no case shall the applicable percent be less than 95 percent.
An EP, eligible hospital or CAH becomes a meaningful EHR user when they successfully attest to meaningful use under either the Medicare or Medicaid EHR incentive program. As adopt, implement and upgrade does not constitute meaningful use, a provider receiving a Medicaid incentive for AIU would still be subject to the Medicare payment adjustment.
The Stage 2 CMS NPRM for meaningful use proposes a new adjustment schedule to take into account the timeline changes for stages 2 and 3. Payment adjustment would be determined by a prior reporting period, a successful meaningful user in 2013 would avoid payment adjustment in 2015. Any Medicare provider that first meets meaningful use in 2014 would avoid the penalty if they are able to demonstrate meaningful use at least 3 months prior to the end of the calendar or fiscal year (respectively) and meet the registration and attestation requirement by July 1, 2014 (eligible hospitals) or October 1, 2014 (EPs). In order to avoid the 2015 payment adjustment the EP must attest no later than Oct 1, 2014 which means they must begin their 90 day EHR reporting period no later than July 2, 2014.