Health Management Associates will restate financial results for 2010 through the second quarter of 2013 after finding that 11 of its 71 hospitals received Medicare or Medicaid electronic health records incentive payments without meeting the meaningful use criteria.

The restatement will “correct the accounting treatment of approximately $31 million of Medicare and Medicaid Health Information Technology payments recognized as income between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2013,” according to an announcement from the Naples, Fla.-based company.

Following an internal review in October, the company discovered an error in applying the requirements for certifying its EHR technology, and notified the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and relevant state Medicaid agencies. It has repaid the majority of funds owned to CMS and is repaying the state programs. The organization expects to reenroll the hospitals in the meaningful use program and to recoup some of the funds it now is returning.

Health Management Associates is correcting “material weaknesses” in internal controls related to administration and oversight of its EHR enrollment process. “Management concluded that a control deficiency related to the administration and oversight of the company’s EHR enrollment process constituting a material weakness in its internal control over financial reporting existing at December 31, 2012, March 31, 2013 and June 30, 2013 and that, due solely to this material weakness, the company’s internal control over financial reporting and its disclosure controls and procedures were not effective as of those dates,” according to a report it filed Nov. 5 to the Security and Exchange Commission.

Consequently, the company is correcting the accounting of meaningful use incentive payments and implementing new controls over financial reporting, and has contracted with law firm Ober Kaler to oversee an independent validation of all processes and procedures related to health information technology certification and attestation, according to the SEC filing. Health Management Associates also has discussed the issue with its accounting firm Ernst & Young.

A spokesperson for Health Management Associates declined to address emailed questions on how many instances involved the Medicare incentive program and how many involved Medicaid, if the organization initiative the internal review that found problems or was first approached by a government agency, an explanation of the internal weaknesses and particular problems, and the role, if any, of Ernst & Young in the inaccurate attestations. The spokesperson said the company would not be commenting beyond the information already released.

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