Medicare overshot imaging payments in 2001

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Operating at a pace only acceptable for the federal government, it was recently revealed that in 2001 Medicare overpaid some providers, including 94 different independent imaging facilities by $164,839. This bit of information was provided by HHS Inspector General Daniel Levinson in a recent memo the CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) leadership.

Levinson concluded in his memo that not all of the services the providers performed were “reasonable or necessary” and that there seemed to be a pattern of repetition to services delivered to some of the same beneficiaries.
   
Even worse, Levinson’s office indicated that in 2001 some $71.5 million in Medicare payments were made to imaging centers for services that are suspected to not have been in line with federal requirements. The centers were contracted with 10 different carriers.

Obviously CMS has been urged to evaluate these changes and to recover all overpayments that were made. Levinson also would like to see each of the sites involved in the overpayments monitored for compliance as well. To this the CMS is reported to have responded that it might not have the budget to accomplish such monitoring, and that it would certainly collect on overpayments, but not if it the costs to collect the amounts goes beyond what is owed.
   
At press time, no information was available about whether services for specific devices were also part of the overpayment.