Your Practice Might be Audited Next – How to Prepare

Because the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has shelled out about $19 million of their $27 million budget in just three months, physicians should assume that they will be audited and make preparations so they are not caught off guard and the audit goes as smoothly as possible.

Audits have been occurring frequently across the country, so in order to prepare physicians should follow these seven strategies:

  1. Assume you will be audited - Make sure your office retains all documents auditors will ask for so you meet the specific requirements and have a solid foundation for responding to the audit.
  2. Handle the audit promptly - Complying with an audit means you will have to complete a long list of tasks to prove every transaction, which can be tedious, but it is crucial that you do not lash out at the auditor and respond to the audit request in 14 days or less.
  3. Physicians take charge - While you might want your practice manager to take control of the audit, make sure you, as the physician, are involved and know what is going on so nothing slips through the cracks. It is your business that is on the line.
  4. Avoid discrepancies - The main thing auditors look for are discrepancies between what was submitted during the attestation process and what was actually done. The audit will request a document list so make sure you provide all the documents needed and in a timely manner.
  5. Ensure EHR certification - Make sure you have certification from your vendors confirming the version of EHR system  you are using and if your system is upgraded that your certification didn’t change and if it did that you also upgrade that.
  6. Documentation - Above all, it is critical you have an auditable source for all data used for registering and attesting to meaningful use. This not only includes the data presented on the meaningful use reports generated by the EHR, but evidence of all ‘yes/no’ objectives.
  7. Complete a Security Risk Assessment - This is an area that trips up many physicians because even though it became mandatory for physician practices to implement HIPPA, it is something many are still unfamiliar with. Neglecting the risk assessment can not only place physicians at risk of paying back incentive money, but they also risk a penalty from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Office for Civil Rights

For more information on these strategies see the following article, published by Medical Economics – http://medicaleconomics.modernmedicine.com/medical-economics/news/meaningful-use-audits-seven-strategies-protect-your-practice?page=0,6&contextCategoryId=146

CCHIT Exits Certification Game

Top government endorsed certifying body Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) has announced that it will transition to an advisory role to healthcare vendors and providers, as it is no longer profitable in its current role. CCHIT will no longer certify or test EHR software for the first time since 2006. Instead, the CCHIT will focus on advising healthcare providers and health IT developers on the government’s requirements for certified EHR technology and how to comply with IT regulations. The CCHIT will also be developing new programs and policy guidance for providers and patients who use IT to transform healthcare.

The reason for the CCHIT ending relations with EHR testing and certification is economic. Running a certification organization requires investments in infrastructure and staff, but generates revenue only during periods when vendors are seeking certification. Most vendors didn’t start applying for certification until last September, but CCHIT has staff on payroll all year.

CCHIT has informed their current customers of the change and has suggested that they use ICSA Labs to maintain their certification or apply for new testing services. They will maintain their work with the Source, which offers ONC testing and certification preparation service.

For more information on this transition, published by Information Week, see the following link – http://www.informationweek.com/healthcare/policy-and-regulation/cchit-exits-ehr-certification-business/d/d-id/1113632.