In the Meaningful Use Incentives: The Big Give Backarticle, author Jim Tate relays the message of a hospital system giving back $31 million in meaningful use payments. Claw backs are money or benefits that are distributed and then taken back as a result of special circumstances. The famous wrestler Killer Kowalski used the “Kowalski Claw” as a submission hold.
The meaningful use stimulus program that was designed to accelerate implementation has already spent over 16 billion dollars and now is asking/taking back funds when the client did not specifically abide by the requirements. This is somewhat similar to the Recovery Audit Contractor process, which puts fear in the heart of administrators. The Recovery Audit Contractor, or RAC, program was created through the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA) to identify and recover improper Medicare payments paid to healthcare providers under fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare plans. The United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is required by law to make the program permanent for all states by January 1, 2010 under section 302 of the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006.
For most practices, a demand to return any monies would create a significant financial hardship, since most of that money is already spent, distributed, and/or budgeted away. It behooves the recipient of government monies to know the rules to avoid the “Killer Claw back”.