What: The Obama administration is forging ahead with a multi-billion dollar plan to shift from paper to electronic medical records, despite continuing concerns the program may be prompting some doctors and hospitals to improperly bill higher fees to Medicare. An investigation into those billing questions — which convened a hearing Wednesday — has yet to produce much in the way of results, and critics are questioning the seriousness of the efforts.
Why: Some digital records software marketed to medical professionals may be encouraging the use of elevated billing codes that pay fatter fees, according to the nation’s top health information technology official. That could undermine cost savings the government expects to achieve by adopting the digital systems. User beware: with more money being allocated to audits for Medicare fraud, physicians shouldn’t expect to plead ignorance about their EMR system over-coding without their knowledge.