On February 25, 2015, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) announced that Eligible Professionals (“EPs”) participating in the Medicare Electronic Health Record Incentive Program (“Meaningful Use”) now have until 11:59 p.m. ET on March 20, 2015, to attest to Meaningful Use for the 2014 reporting year. The previous deadline was February 28, 2015. The extra time will be welcomed by many EPs who are experiencing software and technology issues in generating Meaningful Use reports and other supporting documentation.

EPs who have not yet attested for the 2014 reporting period should work diligently with clinic and/or hospital administrators, software vendors, and other stakeholders to gather the information necessary to attest to Meaningful Use. This includes documentation to support Meaningful Use numerators, denominators, exclusions, and answers to “yes/no” questions. EPs should maintain documentation in the event of an audit by CMS.

CMS also noted that the extension will allow those EPs who have not used their one “switch” between the Medicare and Medicaid Meaningful Use Programs (or vice versa) to switch between the programs. However, the extension does not affect the Medicaid Meaningful Use program, and providers must continue to follow State guidelines for attesting to Medicaid Meaningful Use.

Finally, the extension does not affect the 2015 reporting year. CMS has indicated that it will engage in rulemaking in 2015 and consider the issue of shortening the 2015 reporting period from one year to 90 days. We will continue to monitor program updates under the Medicare and Medicaid Meaningful Use programs.

By Michael W. Chase of Baird Holm