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ECMC spent $670,000 in "improper and questionable" payments to doctors, state audit finds

Incentive program at center of criticism
Posted at 11:17 AM, Jan 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-13 18:40:28-05

State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli released an audit Friday criticizing Erie County Medical Center for spending nearly seven hundred thousand dollars in “improper and questionable” bonus payments to doctors and other employees at the hospital.

“In some cases, they were clearly improper, they were actual errors,” said John Buyce, audit director for DiNapoli’s office. “We certainly didn't find anything where we had any physicians or employees requesting payments fraudulently or anything like that, but we did have errors in the management and the monitoring of the system, which resulted in people getting too much money.”

Incentive and bonus programs are common in the medical field where employees can receive bonuses if they meet certain performance goals.

But auditors found that in many cases, ECMC employees received these payments whether they met their goals or not.

In one case, an employee received a $20,000 bonus despite meeting only 9 of 32 goals.

The next year, the employee received even more -- $24,000 -- even though there was no evidence she had attained any of the 34 goals she set.

In response, ECMC officials say they have eliminated one of the bonus programs and improved their record-keeping practices.

“It should be noted that the amount of money in question constitutes less than one-half of 1 percent of the compensation paid to employed physicians during the audit period,” hospital officials wrote in a prepared statement.

To read the full audit click here.