Electronic health record (EHR) technology vendor NextGen Healthcare agreed to pay $31 million as part of a settlement announced by the Department of Justice (DOJ) for allegedly misrepresenting the capabilities of its software.
NextGen violated the False Claims Act and the Anti-Kickback Statute by also crediting customers whose recommendations regarding its software led to new business, the DOJ said in a press release Friday. These credits, offered between January 2011 and July 2017, were often worth as much as $10,000, according to the DOJ.
The details: To obtain software certification in line with 2014 criteria published by the Department of Health and Human Services, NextGen said its product “could perform all the required functionality” to be certified as “complete,” the DOJ alleged in its complaint.
“The EHR that NextGen ultimately released to its users lacked certain required functionalities, including the ability to record vital sign data, translate data into required medical vocabularies, and create complete clinical summaries,” the DOJ said.
As part of the alleged scheme, NextGen relied on a temporary version of an auxiliary product to perform some of the missing required functions, according to the DOJ. The agency, in its complaint, cited internal communications from NextGen employees expressing concern regarding the missing functions.
Compliance considerations: Of the settlement total, $15.5 million is remuneration, the DOJ said in the agreement. The whistleblowers that brought the case under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act—two healthcare professionals at a facility that used NextGen software—will receive $5.58 million.
NextGen must pay $1.2 million to the whistleblowers for attorney fees and expenses.
NextGen did not respond to a request for comment. The company did not admit liability in reaching settlement.