By now, most of us have experienced an audit, or know colleagues who have experienced an audit. If you've spoken with a number of people with audit experience, you will realize they are not all the same.
So even in today's market, where the Federal Administration responsible for envisioning and creating Meaningful Use, is the same organization responsible for auditing Meaningful Use, differences exist.
Today's auditors can choose to examine every measure in detail, or to conduct a more superficial review, if they judge a provider to be particularly well documented and knowledgeable. They can merely check to see that a provider's EHR is correctly certified and go no further.
All that can change. The Meaningful Use Program itself is subject to audit by the GAO, and after the first such review, CMS agreed to a quarterly review of its audit program. After all, Congress is interested in making sure the taxpayers get their "money's worth" from Meaningful Use. The first of those quarterly reviews resulted in increasing audit volume by adding "pre-payment" reviews to the existing "pay and chase" strategy started by CMS. What CMS has changed once, can be expected to be fluid in the future as well.
Under an newly-elected Congress or White House, CMS might be directed to focus their audits on different areas of compliance, than what today's auditors verify. Remembering that every year's attestation is subject to audit for up to six years, providers would be prudent to fully understand the regulatory language supporting each individual measure, and create documentation against the regulations, rather than against a perception of today's audit standards. After all, the regulations are more concrete than are audit standards that can be expected to adjust to quarterly political pressures.
Meaningful Use Monitor supports this tip with a dedicated compliance database, containing all compliance documentation, regulatory snapshot, and content supporting stimulus payment calculations - for all providers, for every year. One place.