The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) requires that all critical access hospitals (CAHs) use 2015 Edition certified electronic health record technology (CEHRT) to meet the requirements of the Promoting Interoperability Programs. CMS mandates downward payment adjustments be applied to CAHs that are not meaningful users of CEHRT.
CAHs may be exempt from Medicare penalties if they can show that compliance with the requirement for being a meaningful EHR user would result in a significant hardship. To be considered for an exemption, CAHs must complete a hardship exception application and provide proof of hardship. If approved, the hardship exception is valid for only one payment adjustment year. CAHs would need to submit a new application for subsequent years and in no case may a CAH be granted an exception for more than five years.
The application for CAHs is available online as a web-based application and can be found here. Previously registered users should already have account access, and new users can create an account by visiting QualityNet and selecting “Register.”
Hardship Exception Application Details
- You may now submit hardship applications electronically here.
- If an electronic submission is not possible, you may verbally submit your application over the phone by calling the QualityNet Help Desk at (866) 288-8912.
- The deadline for CAHs to submit an application is November 30, 2020.
For More Information
For more information about payment adjustments and hardship information, click here. For more information on the Promoting Interoperability Programs, visit the Promoting Interoperability Programs website.