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Latest Wave of MU Audits Delivers a Fresh Scare

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, October 29, 2013

A slew of Meaningful Use audit notices have suddenly materialized, aimed not only at Medicare, but at Medicaid recipients as well. The deadlines are tight and the documentation requirements exacting, making a most unwelcome October surprise for healthcare CIOs.

As the CHIME conference wound down on the evening of October 10, CIOs were abuzz: A new wave of Meaningful Use audit notices was making its way into their email boxes with November 7 due dates for responses.

The government might have been shut down, but the federal contractor conducting the audits, Figliozzi & Company, was still on the job. The new fiscal year was unfolding before CIOs with a fright worthy of Halloween.

In response, CHIME leadership sent out an urgent survey to its members. The results were sobering. The rolling, random audits were indeed going out in force, and they weren't just aimed at Medicare, but at Medicaid recipients as well. The survey found that out of 1,400 member organizations, close to 100 received audit notices this month.

I had led myself to believe that the Meaningful Use audit process was more cut-and-dried than it is. In fact, that may be more true for small practices, where the provider's own bureaucracy is at a minimum. When audit notices go to the largest organizations, however, they can really test the governance mechanisms and responsiveness of providers.

For one thing, there appears to be great variability in who receives the audit notice emails at the larger organizations. Some emails are going to general inboxes. So the first challenge is to filter and find the audit-notice emails, wherever they're landing.

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4 comments on "Latest Wave of MU Audits Delivers a Fresh Scare"


Jack Kolk (11/15/2013 at 9:04 AM)
It's more cut and dried than you think. As a company that has done 100's of risk assessments and been through the contesting of failed audits we know the process and what they are looking for. The fact that CHIMES members are still arguing over what is required is silly. The final guidance for a compliant risk assessment is at : http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/administrative/securityrule/rafinalguidancepdf.pdf

Ellis Malovany (11/6/2013 at 9:29 AM)
This is precisely the reason why having the support of an accredited EMR company is critical. Providers have enough on their plate dealing with falling reimbursements and a confusing environment that has led many providers to throw up their hands and consider retirement or sidestepping into an alternative career. EMR companies need to stay on top of the changing targets and build value by proactively conveying information to their provider/clients. Unfortunately, in this "wild west" of EMR technology, only a handful of EMR companies understand how to manage and support.

Frank Poggio (10/30/2013 at 10:10 AM)
Scott, Cut an Dried?? I don't think so. At least not in the way you may think. The MU Attestation and vendor Certificaiton program and process was slapped together in a political rush. After completing dozens of Certifications for vendors I can attest that the process is far from black and white. Scripts get revised on a monthly basis, MU criteria is still getting redefined today. There was no audit process pre-tested and put in pace in advance, niether for vendors or providers. The appeals process is as clear as mud...and on and on. The only thing that will be Cut and Dried is: Providers will get the CUTS and vendors will be hung out to Dry when this is all over!