In order to resolve claims alleging the misrepresentation of the capabilities of its Health IT software, US-based eClinicalWorks has agreed to pay a $155 million settlement with the federal government. The U.S. Department of Justice said that eClinicalWorks — a company that ranks among the largest vendors of electronic health records software in the US— had falsely obtained certification claiming that its technology meets the federal guidelines.It was also alleged that the company had faked the abilities of its system in order to comply with testing requirements.
Established in 2009, the federal guidelines allowed providers adopting certified technology to collect incentive payments from the federal government. It was an effort to broaden the use of electronic medical records and eliminate the paper system.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler of the Justice Department’s Civil Division said “Every day, millions of Americans rely on the accuracy of their electronic health records to record and transmit their vital health information.” He further stated, “This resolution is a testament to our deep commitment to public health and our determination to hold accountable those whose conduct results in improper payments by the federal government.”
The Department of Justice said that eClinicalWorks allegedly used shortcuts to pass certain certification testing without meeting the underlying criteria. The lawsuit was filed in the District of Vermont by software technician Brendan Delaney. Delaney was formerly employed by the New York City Division of Health Care Access and Improvement. He was working to install eClinicalWorks software at Rikers Island for prisoner health care, when he found out about the certification issue. He is said to receive $30 million under whistleblower laws from the settlement.
eClinicalWorks denied any wrongdoing and announced in a press release that it had completely complied with the civil investigation. Despite disputing allegations, the company decided to avoid the cost of litigation and proceeded to settle the case.
Speaking on the settlement eClinicalWorks CEO and co-founder Girish Navani said, “Today’s settlement recognizes that we have addressed the issues raised, and have taken significant measures to promote compliance and transparency.” He further said that his company was pleased to put the matter behind it and has started concentrating all of its efforts on its customers and continued innovations aimed at enhancing patient care delivery.
eClinicalWorks CEO Navani, along with COO Mahesh Navani and CMO Rajesh Dharampuriya are liable for the payment of $154,920,000. Also software developer Jagan Vaithilingam has been charged to pay $50,000 and two project managers, Robert Lynes and Bryan Sequeira, each owe $15,000, according to the Vermont DOJ.