Greenway to Pay $57 Million for Allegedly Misrepresenting EHR

Ken Terry

February 07, 2019

Electronic health record (EHR) vendor Greenway Health has agreed to pay $57.25 million to resolve government allegations that it faked the certification of its products and paid illegal kickbacks to some practices, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced February 6.

Another major EHR supplier, eClinicalWorks, resolved similar complaints in May 2017 with an agreement to pay $155 million.

Greenway was charged with causing its users to submit false claims to the government by mispresenting the capabilities of its Prime Suite EHR to an authorized certification entity, the DOJ news release said.

Physicians who relied on the certification of Greenway's EHR attested that they had met certain requirements for federal EHR incentives under the "meaningful use" program. But because of the inadequacy of the software, those criteria were not satisfied, the DOJ alleged.

"In its complaint, the government contends that Greenway falsely obtained 2014 Edition certification for its product Prime Suite when it concealed from its certifying entity that Prime Suite did not fully comply with the requirements for certification," the DOJ said. "Among other things, Greenway's product did not incorporate the standardized clinical terminology necessary to ensure the reciprocal flow of information concerning patients and the accuracy of electronic prescriptions. Greenway accomplished its deception by modifying its test-run software to deceive the company hired to certify Prime Suite into believing that it could use the requisite clinical vocabulary."

In its complaint, the government further alleged that Greenway was aware that an earlier certified version of Prime Suite "did not correctly calculate the percentage of office visits for which its users distributed clinical summaries and thereby caused certain Prime Suite users to falsely attest that they were eligible for EHR incentive payments."

Additionally, the government charged that Greenway had violated the Anti-Kickback Statue by paying or incentivizing some clients to recommend Prime Suite to prospective new customers.

More Companies in DOJ's Sights

In a statement provided to Medscape Medical News, Greenway CEO Richard Atkin said, "The settlement [with the government] is not an admission of wrongdoing by Greenway, and all our products remain ONC [Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT]-certified. This agreement allows us to focus on innovation while collaborating with our customers to improve the delivery of healthcare and the health of our communities."

As part of the settlement, Greenway entered into a 5-year Corporate Integrity Agreement with the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services. This pact requires Greenway to retain an independent organization to assess its software quality control and compliance systems and to review its arrangements with healthcare providers to ensure compliance with the Anti-Kickback Statute.

The agreement also requires Greenway to allow Prime Suite customers to obtain the latest versions of that EHR at no additional charge. They must also be given the opportunity to migrate their data from the Prime Suite EHR to another Greenway product or to an EHR from a different vendor at no additional charge.

The government signaled in its press release that Greenway and eClinicalWorks may not be the last EHR vendors to be charged with faking certifications. The department will continue to review the certification of other EHR vendors' products, said Christina E. Nolan, US attorney for the District of Vermont, in the news release.

"This resolution [of the Greenway complaint] demonstrates my office's initiative and resolve to vigorously uncover and to doggedly pursue these complex cases," she said. "We will be unflagging in our efforts to preserve the accuracy and reliability of Americans' health records and guard the public against corporate greed. EHR companies should consider themselves on notice."

The DOJ statement did not indicate how the government learned of Greenway’s alleged misrepresentation of its EHR's capabilities. A whistleblower provided the information that led to the complaint against eClinicalWorks.

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