What Meaningful Use Penalties?

September 24, 2010

It turns out many physicians aren't aware of the penalties if they don't meet the EHR meaningful use requirements by January 2015.

By now, most of you surely know about the financial incentives available for the meaningful use of EHRs, right? But what about the penalties?

It turns out many physicians aren't aware of the penalties if they don't meet the requirements by January 2015, according to a new survey from Physicians Reciprocal Insurers, Healthcare IT News reports.

More than 35 percent of those surveyed said they didn't know they could face penalties, compared with 85 percent knew about the incentives. What's more is that 65 percent of those who were unaware said the penalties wouldn't cause them to implement an EHR.

The penalties are equal to a 1 percent reduction of annual Medicare payments per year, up to 5 percent.

Speaking of those meaningful use requirements, CMS is planning to make some revisions to the Stage 1 criteria published in July, according to Government Health IT. The revisions are minor and include more detail of the objectives and measures. Tony Trenkle, director of CMS' Office of e-Health Standards and Services made this announcement this week at a meeting of the policy committee's meaningful use workgroup. He didn't offer more detail, Government Health IT said, but that the clarifications would be released "shortly."

The group met to discuss requirements for Stage 2, and they will present preliminary recommendations in October. A request for comments on the proposals will be released in December.