The Sixth Circuit recently became the first appellate court to consider and reject FCA liability based on a healthcare provider's alleged false attestation of compliance with the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) Act's meaningful use objectives. U.S. ex rel. Sheldon v. Kettering Health Network, 2016 WL 861399 (6th Cir. March 7, 2016). The HITECH Act was designed to encourage the adoption of Electronic Health Record (EHR) technology by healthcare providers through the creation of incentive payments for eligible providers. As a condition of receiving those incentive payments, the HITECH Act requires healthcare providers to meet meaningful use objectives and compliance measures concerning the adoption of EHR technology.
The relator alleged that Kettering failed to meet the HITECH Act's meaningful use objectives and compliance measures after Kettering informed relator of isolated breaches of the medical records of the relator and certain family members. In addition, the relator alleged that Kettering failed to run "CLARITY" reports from Kettering's software system, which would have helped Kettering to monitor improper access to patient medical records. Based on these allegations, the relator claimed that Kettering's meaningful use attestation was false and that this false certification resulted in improper meaningful use incentive payments being made to Kettering.
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