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Department of Health Warns Providers Against Electronic Records Fraud

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has sent a warning to healthcare providers not to misuse electronic documents and patient information.

In a letter sent to several medical associations, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said there are “troubling indications” that some providers are using electronic health records to obtain payments they aren’t entitled to by duplicating patient information or charging for unnecessary services. To prevent abuses, Sebelius wrote that providers must individually verify patient care information to ensure accuracy.

“We will continue to escalate our efforts to prevent fraud, and pursue it aggressively when it has occurred,” she said.

Rich Umbdenstock, CEO of the American Hospital Association, acknowledged that fraudulent use of records should not be tolerated, but said that better national guidelines to prevent fraud are needed.

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