Greenway Health, A Tampa-based electronic health record (EHR) company has falsely obtained EHR certification and incentivized clients in exchange for promoting or recommending its products to prospective new customers, and because of this act, the company will be dishing out $57.25 million.
In a statement provided by the company, Richard Atkin, Greenway Health CEO, said the Department of Justice (DOJ) settlement is an admission of wrongdoing and insured that all Greenway products remain ONC-certified.
Atkin also stated, “This agreement allows us to focus on innovation while collaborating with our customers to improve the delivery of healthcare and the health of our communities.” So, to Greenway Health this deficit will help them better their future.
This settlement by the DOJ is the second time federal prosecutors have taken legal action against an EHR vendor for falsifying Meaningful Use certification. Not even two years prior, in May of 2017, a Massachusetts-based company, eClinicalWorks agreed to pay $155 million to settle allegations that they violated the False Claims Act by falsely claiming their software met Meaningful Use requirements. The Meaningful Use Program was put into play to encourage healthcare providers to show "meaningful use" of certified EHR. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services made incentive payments available to eligible healthcare providers that adopted certified EHR technology and met the requirements relating to their use of the technology.
“Many people saw the eClinicalWorks settlement as a wake-up call,” said Matt Fisher, a partner with Boston-based law firm Mirick O’Connell and chair of the firm’s health law group, also stating that this second DOJ settlement could lead to more findings of false claims.
Just like the complaint toward eClinicalWorks, the complaint filed against Greenway Health by the DOJ under the False Claims Act alleges that the company made its users submit false claims to the government by misrepresenting the capabilities of their EHR product, Prime Suit. This resulted in overpaying or improper payments to healthcare providers under the Meaningful Use Program. Greenway Health also violated the Anti-Kickback Statute by paying its clients or providing other incentives for them to recommend their product.
With these two settlements taking place, Christina E. Nolan, an United States Attorney for the District of Vermont, said that EHR companies should consider themselves "on notice." EHR companies are now on watch by the US government and should make sure that what they are doing is legitimate.
Nolan also stated, “In the last two years, my office has resolved two matters against leading EHR developers where we alleged significant fraudulent conduct. These are the two largest recoveries in the history of this District and represent the return of over $212 million of fraudulently-obtained taxpayer monies. These cases are important, not only to prevent theft of taxpayer dollars but to ensure that the promise of health technology is realized in the form of improved patient safety and efficient healthcare information flow."
The Civil Division's Commercial Litigation Branch, Northern Districts of Georgia and the HHS Office of Inspector General, and the U.S. Attorney's Offices for the District of Vermont conducted this investigation.
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