Stressed Out By One MU Audit? Try Three

Stressed Out By One MU Audit? Try Three

You have been selected by CMS for a HITECH EMR Meaningful Use (MU) Prepayment Audit for payment year…

We, as physicians, can respect that random or even selected audits are appropriate to check that Eligible Providers (EPs) are following the rules to receive the extra money offered by CMS for implementing Meaningful Use of EHRs.

We’ll just bypass the issue that the rules aren’t always the same during the audit process as they were when the program was rolled out, and that some audit criteria need to be refined further. That’s another blog.

But tell me again why some providers have been selected three times in a row?

You know (those of you who have endured them) that an audit is never pleasant. Supposedly, it is about 5 percent of EPs who have submitted. You must submit tons of documentation demonstrating that you played by the rules. Hours of staff time, coupled with tons of anxiety, often letters asking for more documentation on this particular issue, please … for a program which is supposed to reward you for doing the right thing?

Doctor, congratulations, we’d like to reward you for a successful implementation of everything we asked by auditing you three times in a row, so we can be sure the money we gave you was appropriately awarded.

And did I mention that the dollars we’re talking about:

  1. Do not come close to the cost of implementation but are supposed to just “help”
  2. Do come close to the cost that the practice is charged for doing an audit (once)
  3. Certainly do not cover the time, costs and anxiety induction of three sequential audits

When asked, the practice was told, “We use criteria to identify high risk practices, and yours came up three times in a row.

My question is: Do the criteria include the fact that the practice passed two prior audits?

Does the program recognize that it may just be wasting its time auditing a practice again?

That maybe its criteria are flawed? Or does it just like picking on a practice?

Does the program recognize the cost to a practice of one audit, never mind three?

What is the real agenda here?

The program is designed to reward practices for MU and the audit. While well-intentioned (perhaps), it is scaring people away from participating.

Finally, the contractor doing the audits, Figliozzi and Company, based on Garden City, N.J., does many audits for CMS, and is paid on a time and materials basis.

Don’t feel picked on, we’re just doing our job, Doctor, we get paid to audit.

Have you been subjected to an audit? Was it fair? Were you audited more than once?

Tell me your audit horror story and help me write the next blog about MU audits.

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