Federal lawmakers have introduced legislation requiring the federal government to offer more hardship exemptions to physicians to stop Medicare payment cuts for failing to meet electronic health records (EHR) meaningful use standards. The proposed bill would create additional hardship exemptions for single-doctor practices and physicians approaching retirement. Current exemptions are available for physicians and health professionals who:
- Have insufficient Internet access or who face insurmountable barriers to obtaining infrastructure, such as high-speed or broadband Internet.
- Begin practicing in 2015.
- Encounter unforeseen circumstances, such as a natural disaster or other unforeseeable barrier.
- Lack face-to-face interaction with patients or follow-up opportunities with patients.
- Practice in multiple locations and do not control access to EHRs during more than 50% of patient encounters.
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