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CHIME: Mostashari Urges Focus on MU Hardship Exemptions

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, October 10, 2013

At the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, former ONC chief Farzad Mostashari stopped short of supporting alterations to the 2014 final rules or deadlines, but suggested that providers determine whether hardship exemptions can postpone Meaningful Use Stage 2 penalties.


Farzad Mostashari, MD, ONC


Farzad Mostashari, MD, ScM
National Coordinator for Health Information Technology

In his first appearance since leaving his post earlier this month as National Coordinator for Health IT at HHS, Farzad Mostashari has suggested that providers find out if hardship exemptions can postpone Meaningful Use Stage 2 penalties.

"CMS could clarify what constitutes a hardship exemption. You wouldn't get the incentive payment, but you wouldn't get the penalty, one percent of Medicare payment cut either," said Mostashari, speaking at the annual conference of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The final rule governing Meaningful Use 2014, including Stage 2 requirements for providers entering their third year of attestation, specifies compliance by October 1, 2014 for a 90-day reporting period during that year. The final rule does allow for delayed attestations due to hardship, but CMS clarification "could provide additional flexibility… so that's where I would advise CHIME to look."

CHIME has strongly supported the current timetable for Meaningful Use 2014, but at the same time has asked ONC to provide additional flexibility by delaying the penalty phase.

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