On April 30, 2012, the Government Accountability Office ("GAO") published a report addressing CMS determinations on provider eligibility for electronic health records ("EHR") incentive program payments. Under the program, CMS provides incentive payments to hospitals and professionals demonstrating meaningful use of EHR technology. However, first year eligibility has been based largely on program participant attestations of compliance. In its report, entitled First Year of CMS's Incentive Programs Shows Opportunities to Improve Processes to Verify Providers Met Requirements, GAO "examined efforts by CMS . . . to verify whether providers qualify to receive EHR incentive payments and . . . examined information reported to CMS by providers to demonstrate meaningful use in the first year of the Medicare EHR program."
GAO made four recommendations to CMS on how to improve its verification of provider compliance with EHR incentive program requirements. Those recommendations include that CMS " establish time frames for expeditiously implementing an evaluation of the effectiveness of the agency's audit strategy for the Medicare EHR program,  evaluate the extent to which the agency should conduct more verifications on a prepayment basis when determining whether providers meet Medicare EHR program's reporting requirements,  collect the additional information from Medicare providers during attestation that CMS suggested states collect from Medicaid providers during attestation, [and]  offer states the option of having CMS collect meaningful use attestations from Medicaid providers on their behalf."