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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has begun conducting audits to determine compliance with “meaningful use” program reporting rules, a CMS spokesman confirmed to BNA July 24.
The spokesman declined to provide additional details about the audit program, but in a July client alert , attorneys James B. Wieland and Joshua J. Freemire with Ober Kaler in Baltimore, wrote that clients had begun receiving audit letters from CMS contractor Figloiozzi & Co., in Garden City, N.Y.
Freemire told BNA all the audit letters to health care organizations appear to be similar.
According to the Ober Kaler alert, the audit letters request four categories of information from participants in the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record Incentive programs:
• copies of their certification from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology for the EHR technology they used to meet program requirements;
• documentation to support the method they chose to report emergency department admissions;
• supporting documentation used to complete the attestation module for core set objectives and measures; and
• supporting documentation for the attestation module responses about meeting voluntary objectives and measures.
Wieland and Freemire wrote that the audit letter recipients were given a two-week time frame in which to respond to the requests.
“Unfortunately, it is also unclear how audit candidates are selected, so hospitals and professionals will not be able to 'plan ahead' for an audit they can be certain is coming,” they wrote.
Nevertheless, Wieland and Freemire wrote that while audit letters “are always nerve wracking,” the requests thus far are not “the type of specific, targeted, detailed investigation that can give rise to significant operational interruptions and expense.”
It appears, they added, that the audits will be “very basic desk” audits and likely will be used as a basis for future meaningful use audit initiatives.
CMS has not formally announced the start of the meaningful use audits, but has said they were imminent. In a frequently asked question post (FAQ No. 7361) on its website, CMS identified Figliozzi & Co. as the contractor hired to perform the audits.
“Figliozzi and Company will be performing the meaningful use audits for CMS. If you are selected for an audit you will receive a letter from them with the CMS logo on the letterhead,” according to the FAQ response.
Robert Anthony, insurance specialist in CMS's Office of eHealth Standards & Service, said July 23 that CMS would not issue guidance on what meaningful use program participants should expect from the audits, saying it would defeat the oversight purpose of the audits (see previous article).
The Ober Kaler alert is available at http://www.ober.com/publications/1882-figloiozzi-company-begin-meaningful-use-audits-cms-designee.
CMS FAQ No. 7361 is available at https://questions.cms.gov/faq.php?id=5005&faqId=7361.
Additional information about planned meaningful use program audits is available at http://www.cms.gov/Regulations-and-Guidance/Legislation/EHRIncentivePrograms/Attestation.html#10.
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