Vendor to pay $155M in first-of-kind case

An electronic health records vendor accused of paying kickbacks and selling its software even though it wasn’t certified will pay $155 million to settle legal claims.

The Department of Justice said eClinicalWorks misrepresented its software, including programming only 16 drug codes and failing to meet portability requirements. It also did not properly test the software before it was released and allegedly paid customers $392,000 in kickbacks to promote the product, authorities said.

ECW denied the claims and said in a statement that it settled only to avert drawn-out litigation.

Colette G. Matzzie, a whistleblower attorney at Phillips & Cohen, called it a “ground-breaking case” because it was the first time the government held an electronic health records vendor accountable for “failing to meet federal standards designed to ensure patient safety and quality patient care.”

The settlement also marks the first time an EHR vendor has been held accountable for representations made while seeking government certification.