The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services inappropriately paid $729.4 million in Medicare electronic health record incentive payments to eligible professionals who did not meet meaningful use requirements, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General estimated in a report released today. Based on a review of 100 EPs, OIG said it identified 14 EPs with payments totaling $291,222 between May 2011 and June 2014 that did not meet meaningful use requirements because of insufficient attestation support, inappropriate reported meaningful use periods or insufficiently used certified EHR technology. According to the report, CMS also made more than $2.3 million in incentive payments in the wrong payment year to EPs who switched between the Medicare and Medicaid incentive programs. OIG recommended that CMS attempt to recover the payments and any inappropriate incentive payments after the audit period; educate EPs on proper documentation requirements; and employ edits within the National Level Repository to ensure EPs do not receive payments under both incentive programs in the same program year. OIG also recommended that any modifications to the EHR meaningful use requirements as CMS implements the Medicare Access and Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act include stronger program integrity safeguards to ensure that EPs use EHRs consistent with the CMS goal of advancing care information under the Merit-based Incentive Payment System.

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