Senators press CMS to recoup EHR overpayments under meaningful use

The agency overpaid hospitals $730 million and now two U.S. Senators want to know why it hasn’t tried harder to get that money back.
By Tom Sullivan
11:34 AM
CMS EHR overpayments

Seema Verma. Photo via Twitter

Senators Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, have sent a letter to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma with several questions about CMS’s plans to recover meaningful use overpayments.

“Given the estimated $729,424,395 in inappropriate incentive payments, why has CMS not made greater attempts to recover these funds?” Hatch and Grassley asked in the letter.

The Office of the Inspector General determined in June that, because of its failure to conduct appropriate reviews, CMS paid hundreds of millions more than it should have.

[Also: CMS overpaid nearly $730 million in meaningful use incentives, OIG says]

While CMS has not committed to recovering the money, the Senators noted, it did state that is has instituted risk-based audits to find errors.

Hatch and Grassley called on Verma to explain how CMS will use those audits to recover inappropriate payments as well as to prevent more from happening in the future.

The Senators also asked for updates about how much CMS has recovered from the 14 eligible providers OIG used for its report, what CMS has recouped from the eligible providers who switched between Medicare and Medicaid, and any attempts CMS has made to root out overpayments made since OIG’s audit.

“If CMS is capable of recovering taxpayer money that should have not have been spent, the agency should take all reasonable steps to do so,” the Senators wrote. “If it is incapable of fully recovering the money, Congress should know about those limitations.” 

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