Posted By Monique Dever On October 7, 2014
CMS offers exclusions and hardship exceptions for Meaningful Use Stage 2 when Broadband Internet is not available
Meaningful use stage 2 has several objectives that require the use of broadband internet; ePrescribing (eRx), Patient Electronic Access, Summary of Care, and Electronic Messaging. However, internet service is not always available to the patient, the facility, or both. So how can otherwise eligible providers (EPs) meet all the Attestation requirements?
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has recognized this issue and offers Meaningful Use exclusions and hardship exceptions for such cases. Measures for secure electronic communications from patients without internet may be excluded by the provider. According to CMS “Eligible professionals who conduct 50 percent or more of their patient encounters in a county in which 50 percent or more of its housing units do not have availability to 3Mbps broadband (according to the latest information available from the FCC) on the first day of the EHR reporting period may exclude these measures.” Providers can check patient access to broadband (or lack of) online at the National Broadband Map.
In the case where the facility is in an area without secure internet coverage or there are severe barriers for establishing broadband access (such as extreme costs) the providers may apply for hardship exceptions. They will of course have to provide proof to qualify for the hardship.
To find out more details on payment adjustments and exceptions visit http://www.cms.gov/Regulations-and-Guidance/Legislation/EHRIncentivePrograms/PaymentAdj_Hardship.html.