Advocacy News

March 1, 2016



Advocacy at #AAOS2016 Annual Meeting

New Annual Meeting Symposium: Medicare PQRS Pathways for Payment

2015 EHR “Meaningful Use” – Hardship Exemption Deadline Extended

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Senate Finance on Examining the Opioid Epidemic

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Senate Confirms New FDA Commissioner

ONC Introduces Interoperability Proving Ground

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2015 EHR “Meaningful Use” – Hardship Exemption Deadline Extended

Note: visit for all the latest updates on health information technology and meaningful use, including information on applying for a 2015 exemption.

In an effort to allow physicians to avoid a potential 3 percent meaningful use penalty in 2017, a law was passed by Congress that allows the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to consider hardship exceptions for categories of eligible professionals (EPs) and hospitals in a new, more streamlined process. Physician groups, including the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), lobbied for the legislation because the delayed release of modifications to the Stage 2 of the program left physicians with insufficient time to report under the modified requirements (read about the changes in an earlier Advocacy Now article here).

If you or your organization did not successfully meet meaningful use for an electronic health record (EHR) reporting period in 2015 and would like to apply for a hardship exception, the deadline is now July 1, 2016.

  Physicians will find an individual as well as a group option, which for the first time allows multiple providers to apply for a hardship exception on a single application. The individual filling out the information may be the physician applicant him/herself or it may be another individual filling out the information on behalf of the physician group. The hardship exception categories are the same for both groups and individuals—AAOS urges members to use the exemption category, “EHR Certification/Vendor Issues (CHERT Issues)” (option 2.2.d in the application), which will be open to ALL physicians because of the modification delay.  

The application and additional instructions are available on the CMS EHR Incentive Programs website ( Submission of a hardship exception application does not prevent providers from attesting and receiving an incentive payment if meaningful use requirements are met.

If you or your organization has successfully met meaningful use requirements and are planning to attest for 2015, the deadline is now March 11, 2016. The EHR reporting period for year 2015 is any continuous 90-day period. You can find a CMS-created checklist on the AAOS website here.

Additional resources: