MU exemption renders the program meaningless: athenahealth's perspective

Has the meaningful use program run its course?

Given the recently passed hardship exemption, Dan Haley, senior vice president and general counsel of Watertown, Mass.-based athenahealth suggests this is the case.

President Obama signed the blanket hardship exemption into law last week, permitting any eligible hospital or professional in the meaningful use program to apply for an exemption and avoid reimbursement penalties in 2017. According to Mr. Haley, this blanket exemption renders MU moot.

"When every program participant is…exempt from the application of what was heretofore deemed a key component of said program, there really isn't a program anymore," Mr. Haley wrote in a blog post. "When exemption becomes the norm, you might as well turn out the lights at MU-central and go home."

However, Mr. Haley wrote providers and hospitals should still continue to attest, even though an exemption is possible, largely because the reprieve is temporary. "The requirements from which a temporary reprieve is given today could easily be used in related, non-exempt contexts, such as: performance measurements under MACRA; CMS' Physician Compare rating website; and-on," he wrote.

More articles on meaningful use:

Congress passes blanket MU hardship exemption
Blanket MU hardship exemption a relief to providers, CMS alike
20 things to know about meaningful use

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