eClinicalWorks Settles False Claim Act Allegations for $155M

Popular electronic health records (EHR) software company eClinicalWorks (ECW), along with three of its founding officers and several employees, have agreed to pay $155 million to settle False Claims Act (FCA) allegations, according to a Department of Justice (DOJ) announcement  on May 31, 2017. A qui tam action alleged ECW misrepresented the capabilities and compliance of its software and paid kickbacks to some customers in exchange for promotion of its product. The government argued ECW’s software did not meet the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) certification requirements, and that ECW concealed that fact from the certifying entity in order to receive EHR incentive payments from HHS. Software deficiencies included not accurately recording user actions in an audit log, and not reliably recording diagnostic imaging orders or performing drug interaction checks. Without admitting any wrongdoing, ECW also entered into a five-year Corporate Integrity Agreement (CIA)  with the HHS Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), which requires semi-annual reports by an Independent Software Quality Oversight Organization, prompt notice to customers of potential safety issues, access to free ECW software updates and/or free transfer support to another EHR system, and oversight of ECW’s compliance with the Anti-Kickback Statute. “This settlement is the largest False Claims Act recovery in the District of Vermont and we believe the largest financial recovery in the history of the State of Vermont,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Eugenia A.P. Cowles for the District of Vermont. ECW software is used by over 70,000 facilities and 850,000 healthcare providers.