I presume that I'm not the only person who finds the occasional disconnect between the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT's blog posts and the real data behind them amusing.
Is anyone else as concerned as I am about Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas' actions these past few days?
And I'm not just talking about the clearly troublesome misdiagnosis of Thomas Eric Duncan, who was sent home from the hospital emergency department despite having the Ebola virus. He's now fighting for his life.
No, I'm referring to the hospital's waffling of the mistake.
I can't help but feel sorry for Drew Memorial Hospital, which failed a Medicare Meaningful Use audit and is being asked by CMS to return its incentive payment for that year in the amount of $904,000.
Not two weeks ago, I questioned whether the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT's continued rigidity in its stop gap "flexible" Meaningful Use rule for 2014 would come back to haunt the agencies. Turns out I was right. Stakeholders are rebelling--and in a number of different ways.
Sometimes there's so much attention paid to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Medicare Meaningful Use program that we tend to overlook the Medicaid side. But we shouldn't. The Medicaid incentive program--and more specifically, its audit potential--just catapulted into new territory.
Providers have been expressing their disappointment that the final Meaningful Use flexibility rule, released Aug. 29, saying it offers scant relief, is "too little too late" and puts the very future of the program "in question."
Once again, the Meaningful Use program is suffering from a disconnect between aspiration and reality. This time it's patient engagement.
There's a well-known adage in business that 10 percent of people will never steal, embezzle or commit fraud; 10 percent will always steal, embezzle or commit fraud when they can; and 80 percent will do it under certain circumstances when given the opportunity.
That might finally explain what's occurring with electronic health records and billing fraud.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' 2015 provider payment rules, many of which have been released this month, are receiving a lot of attention. But I'm surprised that one of the most consistent themes throughout them--"EHR creep"--has received very little publicity.
I fear the security of patient information in electronic health records has gone from bad to worse. First we learn that more people are withholding information from their providers who use EHRs because they fear the systems won't keep their information confidential. Now we learn that they're right.