CMS announced that physicians participating in the “meaningful use” electronic health record (EHR) incentive and penalty program will now have until March 20, 2015 to attest to meaningful use for the 2014 reporting year. The previous deadline was Feb. 28.

“CMS extended the deadline to allow providers extra time to submit their meaningful use data,” the agency said in a news release. “CMS continues to urge providers to begin attesting for 2014 as soon as they can.”

According to CMS data released in mid-December, more than 50 percent of eligible professionals will face payment penalties next year because they could not fulfill the requirements of the program.

“Only 24 percent of physicians have attested to meaningful use for 2014 as of the beginning of February,” according to AMA President-Elect Steven J. Stack, MD. “The deadline extension underscores that the meaningful use program is not working and that policymakers need to act on our recommendations to make it more flexible, remove the measures that physicians are having the most difficulty in meeting and revamp the certification program so that electronic health record vendors can innovate to create products that better serve patients and physicians.”

Last month, CMS announced it would modify the program’s requirements, potentially making it easier for physicians to meet meaningful use.