EHR Ven­dor eClin­i­calWorks Set­tles Suit With Feds for $155M

Health Data Management - - NEWSLINE - —Joseph Goed­ert

A ma­jor ven­dor of elec­tronic health record sys­tems for physi­cians, eClin­i­calWorks, will pay the fed­eral gov­ern­ment $155 mil­lion to set­tle a False Claims Act law­suit con­tend­ing that its prod­ucts are faulty.

The set­tle­ment, an­nounced in June, is the first of its kind for a health­care IT com­pany fac­ing for­mal charges that its sys­tems did not help providers achieve ob­jec­tives of the mean­ing­ful use pro­gram for EHRs and that us­abil­ity short­com­ings put pa­tient lives at risk.

The com­pany de­nied any wrong­do­ing as part of its for­mal state­ment on the set­tle­ment. eClin­i­calWorks said it fully co­op­er­ated with the Depart­ment of Jus­tice civil in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“The claims set­tled by the agree­ment are al­le­ga­tions only, and there has been no de­ter­mi­na­tion of li­a­bil­ity,” the state­ment said. “Although eCW dis­puted the DoJ’s al­le­ga­tions, it de­cided to set­tle to avoid the cost and un­cer­tainty in­her­ent in pro­tracted lit­i­ga­tion.”

The set­tle­ment also con­tends that eClin­i­calWorks paid kick­backs in ex­change for pro­mot­ing its prod­uct, which had flaws that could ex­pose pa­tients to po­ten­tial safety is­sues.

The plain­tiff in the law­suit, Bren­dan De­laney, an IT staff worker for New York City who was im­ple­ment­ing the soft­ware at Rik­ers Is­land jail, said he en­coun­tered nu­mer­ous prob­lems with the EHR, its cod­ing and func­tion­al­ity. The suit was filed un­der the False Claims Act, a fed­eral law that al­lows peo­ple un­af­fil­i­ated with the gov­ern­ment to file ac­tions against fed­eral con­trac­tors.

The law­suit al­leged that eClin­i­calWorks falsely cer­ti­fied that the EHR met all gov­ern­ment cri­te­ria; that the ven­dor failed to ad­e­quately test soft­ware be­fore re­lease; failed to cor­rect crit­i­cal and ur­gent prob­lems and bugs for an ex­tended pe­riod of time; failed to en­sure data porta­bil­ity and au­dit log re­quire­ments; and failed to re­li­ably record lab and di­ag­nos­tic imag­ing or­ders.

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