DOJ recently announced a settlement agreement in one of its first cases against an electronic health records (EHR) vendor—eClinicalWorks (eCW). According to the terms of the settlement, eCW and three of its founders will pay $154.92 million to the government to settle claims alleging that eCW falsified the certification of its software and thereby caused physician practices to submit claims for payment that were materially false. Three other eCW employees—a software developer and two project managers—will pay between $15,000 and $50,000 each for their roles.
Practitioners Get Financial Incentives for Making “Meaningful Use” of Certified EHR Technology
eCW is an EHR vendor that develops and sells software for physician practices to use in maintaining EHR for their patients. To incentivize physician practices to make use of the EHR technology, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) established the Meaningful Use Program under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009. The HITECH Meaningful Use Program gives medical practitioners monetary incentives for submitting claims for payment that make “meaningful use” of certified EHR technology. To become certified, the HITECH Act requires that software companies, such as eCW, submit their EHR programs for testing.