CMS is required to audit a certain number of organizations or individuals that have attested for Meaningful Use, Branzell says. "I do think there's an appropriateness to audit," he says. "We just want to make sure it's done correctly."
So far, CMS is unwilling to consider granting "partial credit" for Meaningful Use attestations that fall just short of meeting minimum criteria, Branzell says. "I don't think they're going to bend on this, just the way it was set up," he says. "At least at this point they won't."
Branzell says he was not aware of which electronic health record system or systems were in use at HMA. "I would expect that they have a pretty robust IT staff," he says. He did note, however, that the corporate leadership listed at HMA's Web site does not list a chief information officer.
"It does make you wonder if there was one, and that person is gone, or if they didn't have one, and they were sourcing their IT somewhere, and that might have been part of the problem," Branzell says. "At this point, we really don't know."