In 2015, the electronic health records meaningful use, physician quality reporting system and value-based modifier reporting programs become punitive in nature.

That means that this year and previously, physicians could participate in the programs and earn incentives while avoiding penalties. Next year, however, failure to participate will result in reduced Medicare reimbursements. The payments may be lower by 1 or 2 percent to start, but all three combined programs could have a cumulative reimbursement penalty of 11 percent by 2017 based on regulations already in the pipeline, says Jeb Shepard, senior government affairs representative at the Medical Group Management Association.

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