Beginning January 1, 2015, Medicare physicians who have not successfully attested to meaningful use of an electronic health record (EHR) system may incur payment penalties, as mandated by the HITECH Act. To avoid the penalty in 2015, physicians must attest to “meaningful use” for a designated time period based upon when you begin participating in the Medicare EHR Incentive Program:
  • Physicians who began in 2011 or 2012 must demonstrate meaningful use for a full year in 2013 
  • Physicians who begin in 2013 must demonstrate meaningful use for a 90-day reporting period in 2013
  • Physicians who begin in 2014 must demonstrate meaningful use for a 90-day period in the first nine months of calendar year 2014 (by October 1, 2014) 
Once a physician demonstrates meaningful use, they must continue to do so every year to avoid the payment penalties.  Penalties will range from 1-2 percent of total Medicare charges in 2015, increase to 2 percent in 2016 and jump 3-5 percent in 2017 and beyond. The exact penalty range is dependent on a number of factors, such as how many physicians have achieved meaningful use and whether the physician is also subject to the e-Rx payment adjustments for 2014. Medicaid is not affected. For more information, click here to view CMS's “Payment Adjustments and Hardship Exceptions Tipsheet” and click here to download the “How Payment Adjustments Affect Providers Tipsheet.”