MU Audit Fears Escalate as HMA Returns $31M
Meaningful Use audit-related givebacks and penalties can pack a much harder punch than other Medicare audits, says the CEO of CHIME, because failure in one area of MU attestation is perceived by auditors as "failure in aggregate."
Concerns that Meaningful Use auditors have unclear expectations of their targets were heightened by reports this week that the 70-hospital Health Management Associates (HMA) is giving back approximately $31 million of Medicare and Medicaid payments to the federal government.
Last month, based on the results of an internal review, HMA determined that it had made an error in applying the requirements for certifying its EHR technology under these programs and, as a result, that 11 of the hospitals it had enrolled in the HIT programs did not meet the Meaningful Use criteria necessary to qualify for payments.
Russ Branzell, CEO of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), expressed concern that Meaningful Use audit-related givebacks and penalties can pack a much harder punch than other Medicare audits.
"If you mess up one bill for Medicare, and you're in a RAC audit, and they ask you to correct that one bill, they don't tell you to give back all your Medicare money," Branzell says.