Congresswoman Reintroduces Bill to Increase Exceptions for Meaningful Use
Representative Diane Black, a nurse and Republican representing Tennessee’s sixth district, has reintroduced her bill to block some penalties for not achieving meaningful use of electronic health records. The proposed law would exempt doctors who are solo practitioners, are near retirement age, or don’t conduct traditional office visits. The last exception would presumably apply to many diagnostic imaging providers. The bill mentions anesthesiologists specifically and also a “physician of any other specialty or subspecialty identified through rulemaking as not conducting traditional office visits.” Radiologists can currently claim a hardship exemption to meaningful use requirements in order to avoid penalties until 2020. However, the American College of Radiology (ACR) has encouraged its members to make every effort to qualify for meaningful use incentives anyway. It has posted free guides to assist in the process on its website. Rep. Black’s bill (H.R. 1331) also would set up an appeals process before the 1 percent penalty reduction to Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement could be applied by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) contractors. The bill is cosponsored by fellow Republican Representatives Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), Michael Grimm, Michael (R-NY) and Andy Harris (R-Md.). Without bi-partisan support and being attached to a larger piece of legislation, it may be unlikely to make it out of committee. Read the bill text.