Meaningful Use audits: Seven strategies to protect your practice
Physicians should assume they will be audited and prepare accordingly
As of December 2013, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) had doled out more than $19 billion in meaningful use incentive payments. As the agency inches closer to its $27 billion budget, there’s evidence that it’s increasing its auditing activities. Physicians should assume they will be audited, and prepare accordingly.
CMS and Figliozzi and Co., the Garden City, New York, accounting firm contracted to facilitate the Medicare meaningful use auditing program, have not reported the number of audits that have been conducted. But many close to the auditing process say they have seen evidence of audits increasing in frequency in recent months—and that some physicians are not prepared when the auditors come calling.
“Medicare is not going to make us aware of why, neither is Figliozzi,” says David Zetter, founder of Zetter HealthCare, a Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania-based healthcare consulting firm, and a member of the National Society of Certified Healthcare Business Consultants. He adds that, in his experience, some physicians just “aren’t doing what they attested to do.”
Attorney Clinton Mikel, JD, says he has also seen anecdotal evidence that audits are occurring more frequently. “From a policy perspective, it makes sense that [audits are] increasing because it is such a hot focus area and, frankly, it’s a way to recoup money,” says Mikel, who is a partner at the health law firm The Health Law Partners.