False Meaningful Use Attestation Leads to Allegations of Fraud and Potential Prison Time

A former chief financial officer at a Texas hospital was recently indicted for falsely attesting to meaningful use requirements according to an FBI press release for the FBI’s Dallas Division.  According to the indictment, the CFO, Mr. Joe White, allegedly instructed staff to input information from patient records into the electronic health record in order to create the appearance that the hospital was actually using the technology.  Mr. White also allegedly used another person’s name and information without that person’s authorization as part of the attestation.

This case is an important reminder that meaningful use attestations must be taken seriously.  Knowingly falsifying the information on the meaningful use attestation questionnaire could result in civil and/or criminal penalties as well as exclusion from the Medicare program.

As CMS continues its meaningful use audit program, it is likely that more fraud in the meaningful use program will be detected.  Individuals who submit meaningful use attestations must ensure that they fully understand the questions that they are being asked and that they provide truthful responses.  Providers who have received meaningful use funds should also consider self-audits to determine compliance so as to be prepared for the CMS audits, which are being performed by Figloiozzi and Company.

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