Allscripts Back at it Again: Pays $145 Million to Settle Practice Fusion Civil and Criminal Investigation

Unfortunately, one of the largest Electronic Health Records vendors gets a fine to resolve civil and criminal liability due to its business practices with Practice Fusion that it acquired in 2018. If anyone recalls, and I don’t think we do, in early 2018 the government shutdown diverted everyone’s attention from another fiasco that involved Allscripts: medical information was compromised and held for ransomware causing a large number of physicians to lose complete access to all of their patient charts, taking several months to recover from it, which Dr. Douglas Farrago pointed to in his blog article during that time.

Allscripts bought Practice Fusion, an ambulatory electronic health record vendor, for $100 million in cash in 2018 even though it was being investigated for its ONC certification and compliance with HIPAA and federal anti-kickback laws. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) Health IT Certification Program supports the availability of certified health IT for its encouraged and required use under other federal, state and private programs. The Program supports the Promoting Interoperability Programs (previously Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs) administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Despite this fine, its second quarter earnings in 2019 toped at $276 million, up 31% from the prior year period. And as for its full year of 2019, it is expected to make between $1.05 billion and $1.1 billion, up from prior outlook of between $900 million and $1 billion.

I am not sure how other’s feel, but doesn’t it seem that these large conglomerates that physicians are forced to do business with can violate any laws and get a slap on the hand for the violations as opposed to, say a physician, or physician practice, whom would be left hung to dry for the violation they may have committed, even if unknowingly? Do these laws seem to keep these conglomerates in power and keep-in check the rest of us?

Why does it seem that those with, essentially, unlimited amount of cash exhibit undue influence in our government? Why aren’t those whom violated these laws held accountable? What will a $145 million dollar fine do? All these fines that large corporations get, where does the money really go? Shouldn’t it be distributed amongst those whom were directly affected?

The answers to the above questions and understanding of the complexity of such practices is above my paygrade. But shouldn’t we, as physicians, start pressing for such answers and demanding that everyone be held accountable equally? Or are we just going to continue to be complacent as we continue to lose control on how to implement best healthcare practices and slowly be replaced as leaders of healthcare by the less-trained?


“Allscripts Announces Second Quarter 2019 Results.” Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, Inc., results.

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