Meaningful Use Attestations With Faked Vendor Info?

When providers attest to Meaningful Use Stage 1 compliance, they have to identify the vendor whose EMR they used. But what if a large number of providers were faking this step in an effort to get incentive money that they don’t deserve?  That would be a lot of fraud, no?

Well, according to one vendor CEO, this could be happening on a large scale. Mike Jenkins, CEO of cloud-based vendor BuildYourEMR.com, reports that after going over CMS data on Meaningful Use, he found that a whopping 74 percent of providers who attested to using his company’s technology were not his customers.

Jenkins points out that if fraud were actually this common, a full $5.4 billion of the $7.6 billion paid out to providers would have been paid out in error. He admits that there could be something wrong with the CMS data, or that providers selected his company’s product name by accident, but concedes that it’s possible attestation fraud is more common than we think.

I’m not telling you this to suggest that the Meaningful Use program is riddled with fraudulent activity.  I’m doubful, in fact, that even a fraction of providers would dare incur the wrath of Medicare by making such a traceable error, much less consciously try to rip the incentive program off.

This does suggest, however, that more healthcare IT people should take a look at the CMS data and go over it themselves, especially EMR vendors. While there may not be a hailstorm of fraud going on, something may be seriously amiss in how CMS collects data or how providers report on their attestation.  It’d definitely be good to get ahead of any pending troubles with CMS, for sure.

About the author

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

6 Comments

  • Not sure of this one John; we have not come across any of our clients and/or other Physicians faking this or the certification number. Only place this can be faked is in the Medicaid Incentives attestation where the need is only the name of the company and the Certification Number of the product. Even there they do need a copy of the agreement and/or contract.

    Although this may happen through the efforts or lack thereof of Sales Personnel, I do think such numbers would be a fraction and I will call that a rounding of error.

  • Also I am surprised that you have not written about the contest by NY eHealth Collaborative – http://www.patientportalfornewyorkers.org

    Yes; we are participating and its an unique concept. We went ahead and developed VIP Patients as a untethered PHR which can conceptually connect to any and all EHRs.

    NYeC is monitoring this contest and will select the PHR and they propose to roll it out to entire NY State Residents and plan to connect all the Physicians and their EHR’s to the selected PHR. Just an FYI

  • Anthony,
    From your description you didn’t see your clients faking it which would make sense. Did you look at the attestation numbers to see if other random doctors that aren’t your clients were using your EHR cert number when they attested?

    I actually did write about their portal contest: https://www.healthcareittoday.com//2013/04/15/ny-patient-portal-prototypes-and-voting/ I was just hanging out with the NYeC people this week. A really interesting contest.

  • I actually know Mike Jenkins and about we’ve discussed Build Your EMR a time or two. He’s not the type to exaggerate. So if he says it I’m inclined to believe it. 🙂

  • Brittney, thanks for the thumbs up.

    Anthony’s comments make me believe the problem exists because our solution was picked off the top of the list rather than malicious fraud. However, I can backup my initial claims.

    Since we are a small but rapidly growing by bucking the trend and offering an EMR that makes physician MORE productive, we do not yet have a presence in every state. For example, the ONC data claims providers whose ID are: 117955, 131600, and 148457 attested using our solution. I have no legitimate customers in California (so far). Note providers 117955 and 148457 have successfully attested two years.

    If any of you know how to translate these IDs to real names and addresses, let me know. I will gladly give them my business address for them to send us a check.

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