5 ways to fail a Meaningful Use audit

Many hospitals are making mistakes that are tripping them up during Meaningful Use audits, according to Meaningful Use audit expert Jim Tate in a new article on HITECHanswers.net.

"There is a lot of money on the table, not to mention careers, and the audit process should not be taken lightly. There is simply too much at stake and a wrong move during the audit or appeal process would take a hospital's staff to a place where it should never have to go," he writes.

Tate identifies some of the "worst practices" he's seen hospitals engage in. In contrast to last week's FierceHealthIT feature, Five ways to survive a Meaningful Use audit, here are five ways to fail a Meaningful Use audit that made Tate's list:

  1. Fail to put one person in charge of the audit
  2. Ignore Meaningful Use requirements you don't understand
  3. Don't document attestation work 
  4. Blame the vendor for your problems
  5. Fail to conduct a security risk analysis

Tate's warnings dovetail with techniques to successfully get through a Meaningful Use audit. For instance, hospital executives speaking at this month's CHIME13 conference recommended that hospitals hold attestation documentation for six years and upgrade carefully so that documentation isn't lost.

"We keep all of our information electronically from the very beginning," Elizabeth Johnson, vice president of applied clinical Informatics at Tenet Healthcare Corporation, said during the session.

As FierceEMR previously reported, many providers have struggled to document their Meaningful Use attestation efforts.

"Most of the issues center around documentation, the things to keep, especially for the yes/no measures," Robert Anthony, deputy director of the Health IT Initiatives Group at CMS' Office of e-Health Standards and Services, told FierceEMR in an exclusive interview.

The consequences of failing a Meaningful Use audit are draconian: A shortfall in just one requirement is grounds for loss of the entire incentive payment. Some providers with inconsistencies in their data or using EHR products known to be problematic are also more prone to be subject to an audit.

The Meaningful Use audits, which include both pre- and post-payment audits, began in 2012 and will likely expand as the program matures.

To learn more:
- read the article