The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act established the Medicare and Medicaid electronic health record (EHR) incentive programs to promote the adoption of EHRs and to improve health care quality, safety, and efficiency through the promotion of health information technology and electronic health information exchange. As an incentive for using certified EHR technology, the Federal Government is making payments to eligible professionals (EPs) and hospitals that attest to the “meaningful use” of EHRs. To receive an incentive payment, EPs attest that they meet program requirements by self-reporting data through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) online system.
CMS did not always make EHR incentive payments to EPs in accordance with Federal requirements. On the basis of our sample results, we estimated that CMS inappropriately paid $729.4 million (12 percent of the total) in incentive payments to EPs who did not meet meaningful use requirements. These errors occurred because sampled EPs did not maintain support for their attestations. Furthermore, CMS conducted minimal documentation reviews, leaving the self-attestations of the EHR program vulnerable to abuse and misuse of Federal funds.Read the full report