The registration and attestation system for healthcare providers attesting to the 2016 electronic Medicare or Medicaid health records meaningful use program requirements now is open, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has announced.

Participating providers must attest by March 13 to receive meaningful use payments. Failure to attest will result in lower Medicare or Medicaid payments in 2018.

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The extension also applies to eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals participating in the Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting (IQR) as well as the Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs of a deadline extension.

State Medicaid agencies have their own deadlines for attestation, available here.

According to a notice released on Tuesday by Kate Goodrich, MD, the director of CMS’ Center for Clinical Standards and Quality and its Chief Medical Officer, CMS also intends to initiate the rulemaking process regarding modifications to the eCQM requirements established in the FY 2017 Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) final rule in response to concerns raised by stakeholders. “In order to help reduce reporting burdens while supporting the long term goals of these programs, we intend to include proposals regarding the 2017 eCQM reporting requirements for the Hospital IQR and EHR Incentive Programs for eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals in the FY 2018 IPPS proposed rule that we anticipate to be published in the late spring of 2017,” she says.

“Specifically, in the FY 2018 IPPS proposed rule, CMS plans to address stakeholder concerns regarding challenges associated with hospitals transitioning to new EHR systems or products, upgrading to EHR technology certified to the 2015 Edition, modifying workflows, and addressing data element mapping, as well as the time allotted for hospitals to incorporate updates to eCQM specifications in 2017,” Goodrich adds. “CMS is also considering to propose in future rulemaking to modify the number of eCQMs required to be reported for 2017 as well as to shorten the eCQM reporting period.”

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Providers may apply for a hardship exemption if they are unable to meet the March 13 date; if a provider gets an exemption, it will not be financially penalized for failing to attest to meaningful use. CMS has not yet finalized the steps that will be needed for providers obtain a hardship exemption.

Under the registration and attestation tab, check that your personal information already in the system remains accurate.

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