The number of physicians who will see their Medicare payments reduced by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will fall in 2017; however, the amount of the adjustment for those who do qualify (because they do not meet the “Meaningful Use” guidelines) will be increasing from the current penalty of 2% to 3%. The number of providers receiving the lower reimbursement amount is on a downward trend (260,000 in 2015 versus 210,000 this year), but for those who are penalized, it will be a larger amount – even though the government has worked towards allowing more practices to apply for the exemptions.
The “meaningful use” provision allows practices to apply for CMS allowances due to:
- Infrastructure challenges (Insufficient access to the Internet or certified technology)
- “Extreme and uncontrollable circumstances” (Natural disasters, etc.)
- Owning specialized practices – Pathologists, Radiologists, etc.).
Adjustments for Medicare payments began 1/1/2015 and will continue through 2018.