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New Jersey made incorrect incentive payments to hospitals

The New Jersey Department of Human Services made inaccurate incentive payments to 15 hospitals, according to an audit released Wednesday of a federal program designed to encourage the health care industry to adopt electronic health records.

The agency overpaid 10 hospitals by $2.4 million and underpaid five hospitals by $137,329, according to the audit of Medicaid incentive payments by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General.

During the audited period, from Feb. 2012 through Sept. 2013 the state made $118 million in Medicaid electronic health record incentive payments under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The audit examined 33 hospitals whose health systems received payments of at least $1 million.

New Jersey officials agreed with the results of the investigation and said they would recoup the overpayments, according to a letter attached to the audit.