MU Audit Fears Escalate as HMA Returns $31M

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media , November 7, 2013

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.

See Also: Latest Wave of MU Audits Delivers a Fresh Scare

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.

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1 comments on "MU Audit Fears Escalate as HMA Returns $31M"

Frank Poggio (11/7/2013 at 6:00 PM)
This is just the tip of a very large iceberg. As I said at the start of the HiTech/MU program, if you take money from Uncle Sam, well before Uncle spells out all his rules, you are treading on very, very thin ice. CFO's have had to deal with 'free' government money and undefined payback terms for decades. It all started with Hill Burton in 1946 and then in 1972 Congress said providers had to pay back that money via 'free care'. Providers are still paying for that one. CFOs have had real 'fun' with HB trying to get a definition of what exactly constituted 'free care'. Now CIOs will have their chance to become indispensible, like a CFO, or become unemployed! Frank Poggio The Kelzon Group




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