Meaningful Use Fraud

Community Health Systems, one of the country’s largest for-profit health systems, uses three EHR networks across its 118 hospitals: Cerner, Medhost and an in-house system from Health Management Associates (HMA), a 70-hospital organization CHS acquired in 2014.  They are also under investigation for incentive payments under the federal Meaningful Use program.  This all started from the “2017 eClinicalWorks controversy” in which the EHR company paid out $155 million to DOJ following whistleblower allegations that it knowingly caused providers to submit fraudulent EHR incentive payments.  The fear was this would spread to other hospitals and…it did.

Meaningful use and quality metrics were a joke from the beginning.  It set up hospitals and doctors to game the system and that is what happened.  Most docs just did what had to be done to get through the day and it wasn’t some grand corruption scheme.  I get that.  Others, like the big hospitals, just hired consultants and bought EHRs that taught and allowed them to pocket as much money as they could.  I hope the innocent go free but I am sure there will be collateral damage.  Let’s just hope the bad guys are caught.  I won’t hold my breath, however.

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Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  6 comments for “Meaningful Use Fraud

  1. Bob Riley
    August 17, 2018 at 6:32 pm

    Ah yes! Meaningless Abuse. Just another way in which healthcare delivery is improving under the attentive ministrations of our betters. Oh how we struggled before they found ways to guide us into the light.

  2. Clifford Norman
    August 13, 2018 at 3:06 pm

    Goodhart’s Law: “When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.” Bureaucratic tampering usually leads to making otherwise honest people dishonest.

  3. Jennifer Hollywood
    August 13, 2018 at 1:28 pm

    Is this why my dermatologist asks and documents whether or not I get my flu shot and pneumonia vaccine, even though he has no plans to give either one and never personally asked or acknowledged the form that I completed?

    • PW
      August 13, 2018 at 1:49 pm

      Yes, I personally like the documentation about weight loss counselling from my orthopedic colleagues. Although I have to say, a spine surgeon I sent a very heavy patient to see actually did counsel on weight loss.
      It’s a game folks, but one we can’t win, and one that doesn’t benefit patients either.

  4. Hawgguy
    August 13, 2018 at 12:05 pm

    Is it reasonable to assume at this point that all EHR vendors and hospital chains are thieves? We already know that insurance companies and big pharma are. I’m never quite sure what to attribute to fraud vs neglect/ignorance. Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi.

    • Susan
      August 13, 2018 at 6:24 pm

      Yes all EHR vendors are definitely thieves!!!
      The hospitals via administrators also are thieves!

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