News From Home Care

HHS: Overpayments at all-time low

It seems the Health Care Financing Administration’s (HCFA) efforts to crack down of overpay-ments are paying off. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Inspector General reports that improper Medicare payments declined significantly in 1998.

The error rate for fiscal year 1998, was estimated at $12.5 billion, the lowest since the agency initiated audits three years ago. The previous year’s erroneous payments totaled $20.3 billion and $23.2 billion in 1996.

According to the Inspector General, home health agencies accounted for 13% of erroneous claims. Hospitals accounted for the largest portion, 39%, of erroneous claims.

HHS credited HCFA for the steep reduction, in part citing the agency’s stepped up anti-fraud and abuse initiatives. HHS also acknowledged improved provider compliance with Medicare reimbursement rules and improved documentation.