The Patient Access and Medicare Protection Act, by Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), will grant eligible professionals and hospitals "flexibility in applying the hardship exception for meaningful use for the 2015 EHR reporting period for 2017 payment adjustments."
The legislation will create a blanket hardship exemption from 2015 meaningful use penalties, which would have been assessed in 2017. Eligible professionals will have until March 15 to apply for an exemption, and eligible hospitals will have until April 1.
CMS currently issues exemptions on a case-by-case basis.
The bill includes legislative language from a separate bill (HR 3940) by Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.). HR 3940 also sought to allow CMS to grant blanket hardship exemptions to eligible professionals and hospitals that are unable to attest to Stage 2 of the meaningful use program because of CMS' delay in releasing the final rule for program modifications for 2015 through 2017 (iHealthBeat, 12/21/15).