KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

HHS Fraud Squad Digging Into EHR Medicare Overbilling

News outlets report that the HHS Inspector General is increasing the focus on the connection between Medicare overbilling and electronic health records.

Medscape: EHR Fraud, Abuse Targeted In OIG Survey
The fraud squad of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has mailed out a 54-question survey that digs into widespread allegations of Medicare overbilling committed with electronic health records (EHRs). The Office of Inspector General (OIG) sent the survey recently to hospitals that received a federal bonus from January 1, 2011, to March 31, 2012, for meaningful use of EHRs, as reported by the American Hospital Association on its Web site. … Hospitals and physicians generally have responded to the allegations of EHR-abetted overbilling by saying that the software allows them to more accurately document services that were underbilled in an age of sketchy paper records. At the same time, healthcare professionals grumble that they are being hassled for using the very technology that the federal government has encouraged them to adopt through incentive payments (Lowes, 10/25).

Center for Public Integrity: HHS IG Pledges Focus On Medicare Billing Abuse Involving Electronic Records
Federal officials will focus on possible Medicare overbilling by doctors and hospitals that use electronic medical records, a top government fraud investigator said  Wednesday, in announcing investigative priorities for the coming year (Schulte, 10/24).

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