Are there penalties for providers who don’t switch to electronic health records (EHR)?

Are there penalties for providers who don’t switch to electronic health records (EHR)?

If Medicare eligible professionals, or EPs, do not adopt and successfully demonstrate meaningful use of a certified electronic health record (EHR) technology by 2015, the EP’s Medicare physician fee schedule amount for covered professional services will be adjusted down by 1% each year. The adjustment schedule is as follows:

  • 2015—99% of Medicare physician fee schedule covered amount
  • 2016—98 % of Medicare physician fee schedule covered amount
  • 2017 and each subsequent year—97% of Medicare physician fee schedule covered amount

If less than 75% of EPs have become meaningful users of EHRs by 2018, the adjustment will change by 1% point each year to a maximum of 5%(95% of Medicare covered amount).

The Recovery Act allows for hardship exception from the payment adjustment in certain instances. The exemption must be renewed each year and will not be given for more than 5 years. More information on payment adjustments and the requirements to qualify for a hardship exemption will be provided in future rulemaking between now and the 2015 effective date.