There may be a way for small practices and older providers to skip EHR Meaningful Use and not get penalized but first the House, the Senate and the President would all have to agree.
On Mar 21st, 2013, Rep. Diane Black of the 6th District of Tennessee re-introduced the Electronic Health Records Improvements Act (H.R. 1331). This bill seeks to provide changes to the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. Representative Black feels that this bill specifically addresses the problems that physicians have addressed with CMS regarding EHR adoption but that have thus far gone unanswered.
Some of the proposed changes are:
- Create a “hardship exemption” EHR Meaningful Use for small practices and physicians in and near retirement.
- Shorten the gap between the EHR Meaningful Use performance period and the application of the EHR penalty to no more than one year.
- This bill also fixes the problem of simultaneously receiving a bonus and a penalty by prohibiting the application of the Medicare EHR penalty to EPs who successfully participate in the first year of the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program.
- This bill expands the options for participation in Quality Measures by using specialty-led registries designed by and for physicians and would be compared to the care delivered by their peers.
- This bill includes rural health clinics as “eligible professionals (EPs)” under the EHR Incentive Program.
- This bill instructs CMS to establish a formal appeals process before the application of the penalties.
This bill was originally introduced on November 16th, 2012 but never made it out of Committee. According to www.govtrack.us this latest version of the bill has a 2% chance of getting past committee and a 0% chance of being enacted.
(Excerpts taken from a summary released by the office of Rep Diane Black)
You can find the full summary of the bill here – EHR Improvements Act Summary
You can find the full text of the bill here http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr1331/text