CMS Announces Four Additional Hardship Exemptions from the 2012 Medicare Payment Reduction and Extends the Exemption Deadline



CMS announced today that four additional significant hardship exemptions will allow physicians to be exempt from the 2012 Medicare payment reduction of 1%.

Exemptions will be granted to:

  1. Eligible professionals who register to participate in the Medicare or Medicaid EHR Incentive Program and adopt certified EHR technology.
  2. Eligible professionals who are unable to electronically prescribe due to local, state, or federal law or regulation.
  3. Eligible professionals who have limited prescribing activity.
  4. Eligible professionals who have insufficient opportunities to report the e-prescribing measure due to limitations of the measure’s denominator.

The two hardship exemptions already available are:

  1. Eligible professionals or group practice practices in rural areas with limited high speed internet access.
  2. Eligible professional or group practice practices in an area with limited available pharmacies for electronic prescribing.

Additionally, the reporting deadline for exemptions from the 2012 payment reduction is extended to November 1, 2011.

The process for requesting exemptions is as follows:

  • Eligible professionals can apply via the web here as soon as the exemption portal is opened.
  • Group practices that are participating in the 2011 eRx group practice reporting option must apply via a mailed letter.

For more information, read my post on this program here.

Posted in: Electronic Medical Records, Medicare & Reimbursement

Leave a Comment (9) ↓


  1. Ann September 1, 2011

    My question is…if my providers register for MU in 2011, but do not attest to meeting MU until 2012, would that qualify for the exemption?

    • Mary Pat Whaley September 1, 2011

      Hi Ann,

      According to the information released by CMS yesterday, this would qualify your group for the exemption!

      Best wishes,

      Mary Pat

  2. Ann September 2, 2011

    Thank you Mary Pat!

  3. Norine Glick September 5, 2011

    When will the exemption portal be opened?

    • Mary Pat Whaley September 5, 2011

      Hi Norine,

      I haven’t heard a date yet, but I will post it on Manage My Practice as soon as I do. It should be fairly quickly since the final rule has been published.

      Best wishes,

      Mary Pat

  4. Glen Fielder September 7, 2011

    Mary Pat,

    If we file for exemption #1 (adopted a certified EHR), and avert the 1% reimbursement penalty, would we qualify for the 1% bonus for those eRx entries submitted properly for the remainder of 2011 (to be paid in 2012)?

    Thank you,

    • Mary Pat Whaley September 7, 2011

      Hi Glen,

      It was good talking to you this morning. Just after I hung up the phone, this announcement for a CMS call came:

      Registration for the CMS Physician Quality Reporting System & Electronic Prescribing Incentive Program National Provider Call is Now Available

      The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will host a national provider call on the Physician Quality Reporting System & Electronic Prescribing Incentive Program. A question and answer session will follow the presentation.
      When: Tuesday, September 13, 2011
      Time: 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. ET
      Opening Remarks;
      Overview on the Final Rule on the 2011 Changes to Medicare Electronic Prescribing (eRx) Incentive Program; and
      Question & Answer Session.
      Target Audience: Medical coders, physician office staff, provider billing staff, health records staff, vendors and all Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) providers
      Registration information: Please visit here to register for this informative session. Registration will close at 1:30 p.m. ET on September 12, 2011, or when available space has been filled. No exceptions will be made. Please register early.

      This may answer your question, or you may be able to ask your question in the Q&A (my favorite!) part of the call. I’ll continue to research this, but my first thought is that you can apply for the exemption, apply for the eRx bonus for 2011 and for the EHR Incentive for 2012.

      Does anyone else out there have any definitive information on this?

      Best wishes,

      Mary Pat

  5. Reginald Birt October 16, 2011

    Thanks for all of the resources.

    • Mary Pat Whaley October 19, 2011

      Thanks for commenting, Reginald!

      Mary Pat