Republican Senators: OIG should take 'all reasonable steps' to recover EHR overpayments

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Sen. Chuck Grassley, PhD, R-Iowa, and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, urged CMS to recover erroneous EHR payments in a letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma.

A June report by HHS' Office of Inspector General estimated CMS made approximately $729.4 million in improper EHR incentive payments to hospitals, physicians and other health professionals, which did not comply with federal requirements.

To qualify for incentive payments, eligible providers had to self-attest to meaningful use by entering data into the National Level Repository. The OIG found CMS had awarded payments to providers who did not meet meaningful use through appropriate or sufficient attestation and awarded inappropriate payments to providers who switched from Medicare to Medicaid.

For the report, OIG sampled 100 eligible professionals and identified 14 with payments that did not meet the requirements for incentive payments. These 14 professionals received payments totaling $291,222. Extrapolating from the sample results, the OIG estimated CMS inappropriately paid $729.4 million in incentives to hospitals and physicians.

Based on its findings, the OIG recommended CMS attempt to recover the overpayments. However, CMS did not commit to recovering the estimated $729.4 million. In the letter, the senators asked Ms. Verma to "take all reasonable steps" to recover "taxpayer money that should not have been spent."

The two Senators also requested CMS update Congress on the actions it has taken to recover the overpayments by July 31.

Click here to read the full letter.

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