The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services may have paid $729 million in electronic health record incentives to health care providers who didn’t actually meet the requirements for the funding.
The Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General found in a sample of health care providers receiving funds from the program that CMS overpaid due to minimal review of supporting documents submitted by eligible professionals, thus failing to spot the lack of support for the required self-attestations.
The incentive programs, established by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, encourage health care providers to adopt electronic health records and produce self-reported data to support their “meaningful use” of EHRs.
Medicare has paid out a total of $6 billion in incentives to date.
The HHS OIG recommended that CMS conduct its own review of providers’ meaningful use attestation to identify other faulty payments that were not included in this study’s sample and seek to recover the erroneous payments.
HHS OIG reported that CMS “concurred or partially concurred with all of our recommendations.”
CMS also mistakenly paid $2.3 million to healthcare providers who switched between Medicare and Medicaid programs and were placed in the wrong payment year, the IG found.