CMS is giving eligible hospitals, including critical access hospitals, one extra month to attest for meaningful use in 2014 in order to receive payments under the EHR Incentive Programs. The new deadline for eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals is now Dec. 31, pushed back from the previous Nov. 30 deadline. CMS said it extended the deadline to “allow more time for hospitals to submit their meaningful use data and receive an incentive payment for the 2014 program year, as well as avoid the 2016 Medicare payment adjustment.” In the same announcement, CMS said it also has delayed the deadline for eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals that are electronically submitting clinical quality measures to meet requirements for the Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting program and meaningful use. Hospitals will be able to continue to submit their quality data through the federal Quality Net portal until Dec. 31.
The healthcare industry is cheering on this extra month, and with good reason. While EHR adoption is growing, EHR implementation is another story. Industry policy leaders from organizations such as the American Hospital Association have noted that the need for an extension points to the highly burdensome level of reporting and complexity of the government’s meaningful use program. Also, hospitals have faced difficulties in upgrading to 2014 edition EHRs and meeting 2014 requirements.