Medicare Mistakenly Paid Hundreds of Millions in EHR Incentive Payments

This week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a report that found the during a three-year span starting in 2011, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) mistakenly paid $729,424,395 in incentive payments to eligible providers (EPs) who did not meet Meaningful Use (MU) requirements. According to the report, the payment errors occurred because EPs did not maintain support for their attestations. Furthermore, the report suggests that CMS conducted minimal documentation reviews of self-attestations, leaving the EHR program vulnerable to abuse and misuse of federal funds.

The HHS OIG is recommending that CMS recover the $729.4 million in estimated inappropriate MU incentive payments. However, it seems unlikely that CMS will attempt to recoup the loss, as the agency released a statement on Monday explaining their commitment to a new era of accountability and that they will use new tools, such as targeted risk-based audits, to prevent fraud and abuse.