Farzad Mostashari, M.D., national coordinator for health information technology, has asked the advisory HIT Policy Committee to study if providers are using electronic health records to up-code billings to Medicare, according to the Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan investigative journalism organization.

In an interview with the center, Mostashari said he wants to know if EHRs trigger higher billing codes when physicians cut-and-paste information from prior encounters with a patient when updating documentation. The center recently published a study that suggests overbilling is increasing as providers adopt EHRs. In part because of suspicions of up-coding, four powerful members of the U.S. House of Representatives recently sent a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius calling for an immediate halt to the electronic health records meaningful use incentive program, which they consider to be weak.

Mostashari told the center that cut-and-pasting is “not good medicine,” and he wants the policy committee to determine if some EHR functions prompt physicians to overbill, and provide recommendations to address the issue if it is happening.

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