With digital technology entering the healthcare industry in many ways, there has been a need to ensure meaningful use of electronic health records and ensure privacy of such medical records. To promote this, the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Program offers financial incentives to the healthcare enterprises. However, to receive this incentive the CMS has established thresholds for professionals, hospitals and critical care centres when recording patient information as structured data and exchanging summary care records. Maintaining these thresholds will help them showcase how their certified EHR technologies are being put to “meaningful use”.
Even with meaningful use regulations being in use, there have been cases of fraud by the healthcare providers such as the one wherein the CFO of a leading hospital pleaded guilty to lying about meaningful use for Medicare payments. The former chief financial officer of Shelby Regional Medical Centre, Texas, now-closed, pleaded guilty to wrongly claiming EHR incentive money. Joe White, the CFO while overseeing the hospital’s EHR implementation, falsely attested to the Centre for Medicare & Medicaid Services that the medical centre met meaningful use requirements for the 2012 fiscal year. This helped them to receive $785,655 in payments while the hospital actually relied on paper records throughout the fiscal year of 2012 and only minimally used an EHR. This fraud involved software vendors and hospital employees who manually transferred data of patients who were already discharged into electronic health record at the end of the fiscal year.
Six Texas hospitals operated by the same individual were paid $16.8 million in meaningful use incentives for fiscal years 2011 and 2012 in this case. However, with federal govt rolling out dollars to providers to adopt electronic health record systems, there is a possibility of more cases such as this. Further, under the HITECH Act, to obtain financial incentives from Medicare or Medicaid, healthcare establishments and providers must submit detailed documents that attest to meeting the requirements for the program, including conducting a HIPAA security risk assessment.
While such frauds on the part of the Healthcare provider and hospitals work as a wakeup call, the federal authorities need to take action to crack down such abuse of HITECH Act. The Office of Inspector General demands eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals to demonstrate they’re using certified EHR technology in ways that can be measured significantly in quantity and in quality. The use of Aegify solutions will help these healthcare providers and hospitals to demonstrate meaningful use through simplified methods.
Aegify is a powerful, simple-to-use, cloud-based solution, that provides necessary expertise to assess, analyze and mitigate regulation risk and move towards on-going HIPAA/HITECH compliance. This tool help the healthcare providers demonstrate meaningful use of their EHR and help them secure federal grants.