The electronic health records meaningful use attestation website is not working and two members of Congress want assurances from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that providers unable to attest are not financially penalized.

Providers in their first year of attestation for meaningful use must attest no later than Oct. 1, 2014 to avoid a 1 percent reduction in reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid next year. “These providers cannot attest by October 1 if CMS will not be ready until mid-October,” contend Reps. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) and Jim Matheson (D-Utah) in a letter to CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. “They have been told that CMS is aware of this problem for those in their first year of attestation, but are unable to assist.”

The representatives recently introduced H.R. 5481, the Flex-IT Act, which would offer a 90-day reporting period for meaningful use attestation in 2015, instead of the full-year reporting that CMS is demanding. Now, their immediate concern is to ensure that providers who spent thousands of dollars getting ready for meaningful use do not face unreasonable reimbursement cuts because of a delay in CMS system updates. And they want a shorter reporting period now.

“We hope this oversight can be quickly and effectively addressed by CMS,” they tell Tavenner. “As such, we request an administrative delay in the October 1, 2014, deadline for those attempting to attest for the first time in 2014. Furthermore, we urge you to take immediate action by shortening the 2015 EHR reporting period to 90 days. In light of the respite your agency granted itself, it is only fair to afford the nation’s healthcare providers with equal flexibility to meet the Meaningful Use Stage 2 requirements.”

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