209,000 organizations to pay Medicaid penalties for missing meaningful use requirements

Though the end to the program may be near, around 6,000 will have payments cut by up to $10,000 based on 2014 data.
By Jessica Davis
11:57 AM
Illustration of doctor with money

Despite officials this week signaling the end of the meaningful use program, more than 200,000 eligible providers will see a 2 percent cut in their Medicaid payments in 2016 for failing to meet standards in 2014, recent Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services data show.

About 86,000 providers will have a payment reduction between $1,000 and $10,000 and almost 6,000 more will have payments cut by up to $10,000 or more. The majority, around 117,000 providers, will receive penalties less than $1,000.

The penalties are enforced under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. It states, eligible providers unable to demonstrate meaningful use for the EHR reporting period will be penalized. Those providers participating in Medicare EHR Incentive programs must demonstrate meaningful use.

[Also: Meaningful use will likely end in 2016, CMS chief Andy Slavitt says]

CMS didn't state how many hospitals would be penalized, but the penalties are likely to be greater than those levied on physicians. Last year, about 200 hospitals were hit with penalties.

Although the amount of providers facing penalties is high, it's still lower than last year's reported 257,000 penalties. By 2017 these penalties are likely to be minimal, as Congress passed blanket hardship exemptions in December as part of the Patient Access and Medicare Protection Act.

More than 70 percent of eligible healthcare providers and more than 95 percent of eligible hospitals received federal government incentive payments, according to the report.

[Also: Bill expanding meaningful use hardship exemptions passes]

Since 2011, 400,000 healthcare institutions and providers have received incentive payments under the program. But meaningful use continues to endure backlash.

At a recent J.P. Morgan Annual Healthcare Conference, CMS chief Andy Slavitt said  meaningful use would likely end in 2016. The recent changes in the Medicare Access & CHIP Reauthorization Act suggest the same.

"The meaningful use program as it has existed will now be effectively over and replaced with something better," Slavitt said. The details on the next stages will be announced in the coming months.

Twitter: @JessiefDavis

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