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Prepare Yourself for Meaningful Use Audits

The government has earmarked billions of dollars on meaningful use with a substantial percentage being paid out in the form of incentives. So it is to be expected that CMS will undertake a program of fraud prevention and audit to ensure that the incentives are not appropriated by unscrupulous organizations.


For providers and hospitals who have successfully received incentives (stage I/II), there is a 1 in 10 chance of being audited. It might not be a high probability but given that CMS intends to audit up to 10% of providers every year, it is not a question of if, but when it will be your turn. Failing an audit will entail repayment of most of or all your incentive payments and some providers have been required to return millions as a result of apparently minor mistakes. A few organizations have even fired executives for audit failures.


The key to passing an audit successfully is to be prepared. Practices should be prepared for an audit at any time and have all the required documentation in place. It is generally too late to begin collecting supporting documentation after the audit letter is received. Given that EHR systems are here to stay, it is advisable to include audit readiness as a standard operating procedure.


The audit will be conducted by contractors appointed by CMS on the basis of information that you send in response to the audit letter. In some cases, in place audits will also be necessary. Depending on the size of the organization, the audit may require many weeks to be completed and clinics should preferably assign at least two full-time employees (for cross verification) who will be responsible for sending information to the auditors.


It is vital to ensure that the numbers sent to CMS during attestation are the same as those on the EHR generated reports. Some programs show rolling totals instead of snapshots which means that if the numbers were sent to CMS in March and the reports were generated in April, the numbers would be different because of additional data. As a general rule, reports should be generated on the same day and saved for later. Screenshots and downloaded files should be time stamped and contain identifying information to show that the reports were generated by your system for your organization only.


Dovetail dental software is 2014 certified software and contains a multitude of reports necessary for attesting to meaningful use objectives. For additional information, visit this page.





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