The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) may have doled out more than $729 million in incentive payments for use of electronic health record systems that didn’t actually comply with federal standards, according to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) at Health and Human Services. The OIG has already uncovered instances where providers who received payments could not document that they were using electronic health records in “meaningful” ways—a key requirement to reap incentives. Now the OIG wants CMS to conduct a review to figure out if providers met the necessary standards, and has instructed the agency to recover any funds that were paid out inappropriately—and, obviously, to ensure that new programs don’t hold the same potential for error. Around half a million providers took part in the incentive program under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. All told, MCS paid out $6 billion in EHR incentive payments. Urgent care providers who received payments should be prepared to prove they earned the incentives in accord with requirements.
CMS May Have Overpaid $729 Million in Incentives—Now They Want It Back