Federal Government Accuses Hospitals Of Using EHRs To Commit Heath Care Fraud

On September 24, 2012, five major hospital associations received a letter from the federal government warning them that hospitals that misuse electronic health records (“EHRs”) to bill for services never provided will be prosectued. The letter was issued jointly by the Attorney General, Eric H. Holder, Jr., and the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”), Kathleen Sebelius. The letter prompted a rapid response from the American Hospital Association (“AHA”), which agreed that health care fraud must be prosecuted, but adovacted that the government recognize that “more accurate documentation and coding does not necessarily equate with fraud.” The AHA also noted that it has made numerous requests to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to establish national guidelines for coding, to no avail.

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