Last week, eClinicalWorks, a major vendor of electronic health record systems for physicians, agreed to pay the federal government $155 million to settle a False Claims Act lawsuit, which contends eCW’s systems did not help providers achieve objectives of the Meaningful Use program for EHRs and further that usability shortcomings put patient lives at risk.
eClinicalWorks said it fully cooperated with the Department of Justice civil investigation, but denied any wrongdoing as part of its formal statement on the settlement. Although it disputed the DOJ’s allegations, eCW said it decided to settle “to avoid the cost and uncertainty inherent in protracted litigation.”
The settlement is the first of its kind for a healthcare IT company. The fines are only a small part of the penalty that eCW faces. The settlement includes a requirement that the company enter a complex corporate integrity agreement that will provide oversight for how the company operates. That agreement also places requirements on eCW to assist its customers, even so far as helping them transition to other EHR vendor systems.
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