Hospital turns to e-signatures after forged ones cost it $500K

Newswire: Abington, Pa.

Dateline: May 30, 2017.

A hospital in Pennsylvania is paying back the federal government nearly $500,000 and has agreed to install an electronic signature program for its electronic Medicare records after an employee was found to have forged the signatures of numerous physicians.

The hospital, Abington Hospital-Jefferson Health in suburban Philadelphia, discovered the lapse in a 2016 internal audit of an affiliated home care agency. That uncovered a two-year window in which an employee had more or less cut and pasted physician’s physical signatures onto Medicare claim forms.

That meant the claims lacked proper physician authorization required by the government.

In reporting the lapse and the steps taken to prevent another like it, Abington Hospital said it would install an e-signature program, eliminating the need for the hospital to obtain physician signatures. The employee responsible for the forgeries was fired.

The acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania commended the hospital for disclosing the irregularity, repaying the government, and taking steps to make its signature process more secure.

Read the full story here.

(Cover image from abingtonhealth.org)

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