June 5, 2017
In what some are hailing as a landmark case, electronic health records vendor eClinicalWorks (eCW) has agreed to pay $155 million to settle civil fraud and kickback charges. The suit is the first of its kind to be brought against an EHR vendor, and alleges that eCW falsely represented that its EHR system complied with federal “Meaningful Use” requirements. “Meaningful Use” stipulates that EHR vendors must show that they are “meaningfully using” their certified EHR technology by meeting certain measurement thresholds ranging from recording patient information as structured data to exchanging summary care records.
“As a result of these and other deficiencies in its software, eCW caused the submission of false claims for federal incentive payments based on the use of eCW’s software,” says Eugenia Cowles, the Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Vermont.
These deficiencies came to light as a result of whistleblower Brendan Delaney, a New York City employee implementing eClinicalWorks EHR system at Rikers Island for prisoner healthcare. Mr. Delaney became aware of numerous software problems that posed a risk to patients, as accurate and reliable records are essential to patient care and safety. The suit also alleges that eCW failed to adequately test software before it was released, failed to promptly correct critical bugs, failed to ensure data portability and audit log requirements, and failed to reliably record laboratory and diagnostic imaging orders. In addition, it alleges the company paid $392,000 in kickbacks to influential customers to recommend eClinicalWorks products to prospective customers.
As provisions of the settlement and the signed Corporate Integrity Agreement, eCW will be required to offer two options to their customers:
First, is an Upgrade Option to existing customers, which entails eCW offering their current customers and users of the EHR Software the latest versions of the EHR Software currently being used by existing customers and the latest updates to any drug database supported by the EHR Software. This upgrade will be provided at no additional charges to the current customer including, fees, installation, and training services.
Second, is a Data Transfer Option. The Data Transfer Option requires eCW to assist current customers with migrating to other EHR companies, without penalties or service charges for breaking contracts.
“Data Transfer Option for Existing Customers: Consistent with requirements and limitations in this section, eCW shall timely transfer the Existing Customer’s data without penalties or service charges (including, without limitation, any break fee or termination fee) other than contractual amounts still owed in connection with goods or services already provided (“the Data Transfer Option”).”
Within 60 days after May 26, 2017, eCW must send existing customers an Initial Customer Notification of their options. Any existing customer wishing to do so must exercise the Data Transfer Option within one year of the Initial Customer Notification.
If you are a current eCW customer looking to make the switch to a world-class EHR vendor with a reputation for transparency, service, and value, then we invite you to partner with us. As a pioneer in the industry, our technology is trusted by thousands of providers for its ease of use, and ability to streamline workflows. To get started with your free conversion from eCW to ChartLogic, click here!*
*Subject to evaluation, patient demographic information only.