Act fast

By Gienna Shaw

Once your organization gets notice of a Meaningful Use audit, you have two weeks to respond and send documentation via an online portal. But you may not want to wait two weeks. In fact, the policy at Tenet Healthcare Corporation is to file the response and documentation within seven days, Elizabeth Johnson, vice president of applied clinical Informatics (right), said at the annual CHIME conference.

One reason to be ready to file in less than two weeks: There's no guarantee that the email notification of the audit will go to the right person--or that the right person will be in the office to get the email. Speakers and audience members told stories of emails that went to the wrong person or were almost overlooked.

Although Tenet designated a contact person for CMS to notify of an audit, Johnson received some email notices herself; others were sent directly to individual hospitals.

"We haven't missed one as far as we know," she said.  

To guard against that problem, make sure everyone in your organization knows how to recognize an audit notification, understands the importance of fast action and knows who to alert.

Because Tenet is such a large, geographically spread out organization, fast response time is critical. The response team includes people who are directly responsible for the Meaningful Use program, including Johnson and leaders from government relations, audit services, compliance and IT. They hold a conference call within 24 hours and then meet again the following day after gathering data and reviewing evidence to write the cover letter. The team uploads the supporting data within seven days.

That's hardly the end of it, however. "There's always one more question, one more something that happens," Johnson said.

Act fast