With the passage of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) in 2009, CMS offered significant incentives to health care providers to encourage the use of EHR systems that satisfied “meaningful use” requirements. To be eligible for EHR incentive payments, providers were required to self-attest that they satisfied federal program requirements and retain all documentation supporting their attestation for a period of six years following the attestation submission.
CMS recently conducted an audit of the program to ensure program integrity. Out of the sampling of 100 eligible healthcare providers who received incentives, 14 did not meet the program requirements. Extrapolating based on this sample, the OIG estimates that CMS inappropriately paid $729,424,395 in incentive payments to providers who did not satisfy the meaningful use requirements. OIG is now tasking CMS with the responsibility of recovering improper incentive payments of more than $729 million and educating healthcare providers on proper documentation requirements.
This new emphasis on recovering EHR incentive payments may present an opportunity for whistleblowers to come forward and correct a blatant fraud. The attorneys at Bracker & Marcus have represented whistleblowers in EHR false attestation cases, and are familiar with the incentive program requirements. If you are aware of a medical practice that has fraudulently obtained EHR incentive payments, give us a call.