Arkansas hospital fails one MU measure, told to repay more than $900K

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is asking Monticello, Arkansas-based Drew Memorial Hospital to return more than $900,000 in Medicare Meaningful Use incentive payments after a post-payment audit found that the facility failed one of the 19 measures of Stage 1 of Meaningful Use, according to an article in the Advance-Monticellonian.

Drew Memorial CEO Scott Barrilleaux, in his September report at the Drew County Quorum Court meeting, said the audit for fiscal year 2011-2012 found the hospital failed to meet the measure requiring it to conduct a security risk analysis. The hospital had conducted one in 2005 and another in 2013, but not for the year it's being audited.

"We were one of the first waves of hospitals to take advantage of the program and these types of audits simply are not that common," Barrilleaux said, according to the article. "When you're the youngest and you don't get to learn from other's mistakes, these things happen."

The hospital is being asked to return its incentive payment of $904,000. Barrilleaux reported that the hospital was going to appeal the determination, but planned to book the loss, as well.

Other hospitals have run into trouble passing a Meaningful Use audit. Naples, Florida-based HMA made an error in certifying electronic health record systems and improperly collected $31 million in incentive payments over a three-year period.  A number of providers have been tripped up by the security risk analysis measure, known as Core measure 15.

The American Medical Association and others have decried the "all-or-nothing" nature of the Meaningful Use audits, recommending that providers receive partial credit for partial compliance.

The Meaningful Use audits, which include both pre- and post-payment audits, began in 2012. The Medicare audits are being conducted by Garden City, New York-based Figliozzi and Company on behalf of CMS.

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