Payment & Practice Management  |   August 2013
ASA Efforts to Improve the EHR Incentive Program
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Practice Management / Technology / Equipment / Monitoring / Payment & Practice Management
Payment & Practice Management   |   August 2013
ASA Efforts to Improve the EHR Incentive Program
ASA Monitor 08 2013, Vol.77, 60-61.
ASA Monitor 08 2013, Vol.77, 60-61.
ASA has been making a number of inroads to make the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Program, commonly referred to as “meaningful use,” meaningful for anesthesiologists. This includes successes with the Administration, gaining a hardship exemption for the specialty, thus protecting anesthesiologists from the penalties associated with the program1 , and legislative, with the reintroduction of Rep. Diane Black’s legislation known as the Electronic Health Records (EHR) Improvements Act, which includes important provisions for anesthesiologists.2 
In May 2012, ASA submitted formal comments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) requesting a hardship exemption from the EHR Incentive Program. As a result of ASA’s successful advocacy efforts, CMS created a hardship exemption in the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Program Stage 2 Final Rule. The hardship exemption is determined automatically and annually based on a physician’s specialty designation under the Provider, Enrollment, Chain and Ownership System (PECOS). Anesthesiology’s specialty designation is 05. The hardship exemption opportunity could last up to five years; however, CMS may revisit the exemption before then. ASA has and will continue to advocate that this exemption be maintained, given the unique challenges the specialty has in meeting meaningful use requirements and the very low success rate to date. Anesthesiologists may still attempt to become meaningful users and receive incentives, as the hardship exemption applies only to whether monetary penalties will apply. Receiving an incentive would override the automatic hardship exemption.
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