It’s Crunch Time: Make Your Meaningful Use Decision by July 1

Lea Chatham May 14th, 2014

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Meaningful Use ResourcesJuly 1, 2014 is an important deadline for Meaningful Use (MU) if you haven’t taken any action yet. Tweet this Kareo story
It is your last chance to attest for stage 1, year 1 to avoid the penalty that kicks in starting January 1, 2015. It is also the deadline to submit your hardship extension request if that is the way you want to go.

Of course you can also choose to do nothing, but consider this… When you add up the adjustments for MU and other programs like PQRS and eRx, the total penalty on your Medicare Part B claims will be more than 10% in five years.Tweet this Kareo story

So, it is worth considering your options if you haven’t started MU yet. Here is what you need to know about your two choices:

  • Attest for Meaningful Use: To avoid the penalty in 2015, you need to attest by October 1, 2014. This means you have to start by July 1 (at the absolute latest) and complete your reporting by October 1. Before you can start, you need to have a 2014 Edition Certified EHR in place and you need to register as an eligible professional with CMS. Then, you attest for stage 1 for 90 consecutive days and submit your reporting by October 1, 2014.
  • Apply for a Hardship Exception: To qualify for a hardship exception you need to meet specific criteria that show you are unable to participate due to factors that are beyond your control:
    • Your area lacks the necessary infrastructure (i.e., no broadband)
    • You’re a new provider
    • Natural disaster or other unforeseen barrier
    • Lack of face-to-face interaction with patients
    • Practice in multiple locations
    • EHR vendor issues (i.e., your current vendor was unable to certify for 2014 Edition)

If you’d like to attest for MU, but need more time AND you meet one or more of these criteria, then you should consider this option. The CMS tipsheet provides more detail. Applications and supporting documentation are due by July 1, and if approved, the extension lasts for one year.

If you are still on the fence about MU, then look at the numbers. If you don’t serve any, or many, Medicare or Medicaid patients, maybe it doesn’t make sense. But if you do, then the long term impact of the penalties could really affect your bottom line.

If you are a solo doc and you generate an average of $30,000 a month and about 30% of your patients have Medicare, that’s $10,000 a month. A 10% cut adds up to $12,000 a year. To make that up, you would have to conduct about 100-120 more patient visits a year (if your average visit reimbursement is around $100-150). Plus, if you start this year, you’ll get $24,000 in incentive payments over three years.

If you need more information on Meaningful Use, check out the Meaningful Use Resource Center.

Note: This Meaningful Use information is subject to change. For the latest updates, visit

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