OIG: Ark. Made $1.2M in Incorrect Medicaid EHR Incentive Payments

July 7, 2015 in News

The Arkansas Department of Human Services has made $1.2 million in incorrect electronic health record incentive payments under the Medicaid meaningful use program, according to an HHS Office of Inspector General audit, EHR Intelligence reports.

Under the 2009 economic stimulus package, providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHRs can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.

Details of Audit

For the audit, OIG examined the state’s 20 highest-paid hospitals under the program from Nov. 1, 2011, to June 30, 2013. The audit showed that the hospitals combined received more than $19 million in incentive payments.

However, the audit found that 14 of the hospitals received incorrect payments totaling $1.2 million (Gruessner, EHR Intelligence, 7/7). Specifically:

  • Eight hospitals were overpaid by a combined total of $652,581; and
  • Five hospitals were underpaid by a combined total of $573,153.

Federal officials could not determine the amount of incorrect payments to one of the hospitals (Pittman/Tahir, “Morning eHealth,” Politico, 7/7).

According to the audit, the errors occurred because the Arkansas DHS failed to follow federal requirements for dealing with cost reporting data related to EHR incentive payments. In addition, officials noted that the agency failed to review supporting documents related to the data.

Recommendations

OIG recommended that the Arkansas DHS:

  • Repay the federal government $79,428 — which represents the amount overpaid to hospitals minus the amount underpaid;
  • Update the incentive payments for hospitals that received incorrect amounts; and
  • Review all payments made to hospitals that were not among the 20 included in the audit to determine whether payment adjustments are necessary.

Arkansas’ Response

According to the report, the Arkansas DHS did not agree with the recommendation to repay the federal government $79,428.

Meanwhile, the state agency said that the incentive payments for eight of 13 hospitals included in the audit already have been adjusted and that it plans to adjust the payments for five more hospitals (EHR Intelligence, 7/7).

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