A recent update on questions regarding the Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program has been released by CMS.
The questions focus on hardship exception applications, in which some family physicians may not have applied for such an exemption.
The modifications to the CMS's frequently asked questions forum include an inquiry about hardship applications and whether such a submission would affect the 2015 reporting period, withholding any bonus payment.
CMS attempted to quell any doubts with its response.
"No, submission of a hardship exception application does not prevent a provider from attesting and receiving an incentive payment if meaningful use requirements are met," a representative said. "If a provider cannot attest for a 2015 reporting period or believes their attestation may be unsuccessful, the provider can apply for a hardship exception to avoid the payment adjustment in 2017."
This also means that physicians may miss a three-percent pay decrease in 2017 from Medicare.
By applying for meaningful use hardship by March 15, family physicians may be able to safeguard against this cut.