Hospitals have until February 28 to submit eCQM data
Eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals have until the end of the month to submit electronic clinical quality measure data for the Inpatient Quality Reporting Program and Promoting Interoperability Program.
By February 28, hospitals participating in the IQR Program for the Calendar Year 2018 reporting period must report via the QualityNet secure portal a minimum of four eCQMs from any quarter of CY 2018 using certified health IT to receive a Fiscal Year 2020 payment determination.
In extraordinary circumstances, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services grants exceptions to hospitals for the reporting of required quality data—including eCQM data under the IQR program—for circumstances that are beyond their control.
“Such circumstances could include, but are not limited to, infrastructure challenges (such as a hospital is in an area without sufficient Internet access) or unforeseen circumstances (such as a hospital that has health information technology vendor issues outside of the hospital’s control, including a vendor product losing certification) that impacts the hospital’s ability to report eCQM data,” according to CMS.
“Hospitals that successfully submit eCQM data to meet Hospital IQR Program requirements will also fulfill the Medicare Promoting Interoperability Program requirement for electronic reporting of CQMs with one submission,” adds the agency.
Like the Hospital IQR Program, the Promoting Interoperability Program attestation deadline is also February 28. Starting in 2019, all eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, dual-eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals are required to use 2015 edition Certified EHR Technology to meet the requirements of the Promoting Interoperability Program—previously known as the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.
“Critical access hospitals are encouraged, but not required, to participate in the Hospital IQR Program,” states CMS. “CAHs are required to participate in the Medicare Promoting Interoperability Program.”
The Promoting Interoperability Program has a different request process and timeline for hardship exceptions. In those cases, eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals may be exempt from Medicare penalties if they can show that demonstrating meaningful use would result in a significant hardship.
“To be considered for an exception (to avoid a payment adjustment), healthcare providers must complete a hardship exception application and provide proof of the hardship,” according to CMS. “If approved, the hardship exception is valid for only one payment year. Healthcare providers need to submit a new application for subsequent years, and in no case may a healthcare provider be granted an exception for more than five years.”