Chart modification after 48 hours- fraud?

  1. At our facility, we get these "love notes" from the chart auditors. They are chart corrections, 100% for billing purposes, and they ask us to modify charts as old as 2 weeks sometimes.

    Ex: place verbal order for ekg and complete to drop charge; unchart foley cath insertion- part of admission orders; modify facility charge ticket to correct date of service; chart IV fluids/med infusion stop time to correct charge; document if diltiazem/nitro/amiodarone drip infusing at time of transfer, etc....

    My problem is, and I have asked plenty of nurses and traveling nurses, is that NO ONE has done this at any other facility. And now this traveler has told me "any chart modification post-48 hours is considered fraud." Sometimes I cannot remember the patient, and most of the time I write "will not modify" but they are never happy with that response.

    Is this legal, to modify charts so far out? I have googled the subject, cannot find any info. I work in Florida if it helps.

    Thanks for any and all responses.
  2. Visit thelema13 profile page

    About thelema13

    Joined: Jun '11; Posts: 287; Likes: 374
    Specialty: 3 year(s) of experience in ED


  3. by   canchaser
    I audit Medicare charts for complete md/ np/ pa documentation. Bills are dropped in 2 weeks after discharge. But if the documentation is missing that I have requested, I have to pursue the doctor for 45 days.
  4. by   Altra
    Agree with canchaser ... and if you think about it, physicians are sometimes completing dictation on charts more than 48 hours after the patient was seen in the ER.

    I have to say, however, I would never "unchart" something that I actually did, like Foley insertion. There's no reason that admission orders can't be edited to reflect the fact that an intervention was already done in the ER prior to the patient being admitted ... and this seems like a much better solution than obfuscating (sorry - I love that word) who/where/when the intervention was performed.
  5. by   gonzo1
    You need to check your facilities policies and procedures. If that doesn't help you, then you need to check with your facilities risk management and or legal department. Believe me, they want you to do the right/legal thing in order to avoid lawsuits or fraud charges from medicare/medicaid/insurance companies etc. Don't be afraid to ask these guestions from the appropriate departments.
  6. by   DixieRedHead
    Adding an order for something that was done is one thing. Uncharting something that was done is something else entirely. Ain't happening.
  7. by   mybrowneyedgirl
    I have had to correct charts. I don't feel it's fraudulant as long as it's something I actually did do and did not chart. If they asked me to chart something as a "CYA" that didn't happen, I would refuse.
  8. by   caliotter3
    Not fraud if what you change is factual.
  9. by   nurseprnRN
    the "...after 48 hours is fraud" thing is not true. charting that is fraudulent, meaning it's done with intent to mislead, can occur anytime, even in ten minutes.
    changes in the medical record to reflect billing may or may not be fraud, depending on what it is and how it's done. i'm not a huge billing expert, but say, for example, there is a charge for use of an iv pump, hourly. suppose that pump went into service at noon, but somehow the billing started at 6am. changing the iv fluid administration record to say that it started at 6am would be fraudulent, because it would be documenting 6 hours of chargeable service that was not delivered.
    there are standards for how you may change a chart record. you draw a single line through it, so it's still legible, and sign and date and time when you drew that line. then you note why. "charting on wrong patient." "medication not given." "charted on wrong date, see ... " mybrowneyedgirl and caliotter have it exactly right.
  10. by   IDoNotGiveOut
    I don't know about the laws by state, but logically I don't think the time frame of the charting should matter. It's fradulent if it's fradulent, regardless of when charted, and if someone is telling you to chart something that is intentionally not accurate, that is fraud. But if they're getting on you to chart something you actually did, but forgot to chart you did, I know for a fact that waiting more than 48 hours does not make it fraud. Best example where I work are restraint audits - it's a single box we have to click on at the end of our shift saying we gave all the proper care and precautions for restraints during our shift. It's easy to forget to do at the end of the day, I've had to go back and chart that on a patient from a month before. I don't see why that would be considered fradulent. But that's the only documentation I've ever been asked to alter.
  11. by   wooh
    If it's true, it's not fraud. If it's not true, it's fraud.
  12. by   rnjlin
    Most EMR's allow up to 2 weeks to go back and chart. Thank goodness because with all the new billing laws, if it is not charted properly, you don't get paid. If you are the cause for the facility not getting paid, you will lose your job.
  13. by   thelema13
    Thanks for the replies, I will talk to risk management.