Data mixup sent to hospitals

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), part of the Department of Health and Human Services, sent out an urgent e-mail to more than 400 hospitals last week, notifying them that they had received the wrong data from a contractor and asking them to destroy it.

The contractor, the Iowa Foundation for Medical Care of West Des Moines, Iowa, had forwarded individual validation results for hospitals to check their quality data submissions for the third quarter of this year. But wrong coding caused more than 400 hospitals to get the wrong data.

"Apparently IFMC did not properly code the run and it pulled the wrong information for about 400 hospitals on the East Coast," said CMS spokesman Peter Ashkenaz. "We discovered the error, and the run was discontinued."

All hospitals involved were notified of the error and were asked to destroy the files they had accidentally received, and verify they had done so, he said.

The company referred all calls to Ashkenaz and declined to comment. No beneficiary information was compromised, Ashkenaz said.

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