The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced Thursday at HIMSS14 the availability of hardship exemptions for compliance with Stage 2 electronic health records meaningful use requirements during 2014. Further, Stage 3 ambitions may be scaled back somewhat, as officials acknowledge the regulatory burdens that providers have with meaningful use, ICD-10 and health care reform.

The exemptions would forestall providers paying a penalty through reduced Medicare reimbursements--starting in 2015--for failure to meet meaningful use requirements.

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