Medicare’s improper payment scorecard

Here are the sources and providers attributed to improper Medicare payments based on the Office of the Inspector General’s fiscal year 1999 audit of the program:

• Documentation errors — $5.5 billion total (includes $1.1 billion to physicians, $1.6 billion to disposable medical equipment (DME) suppliers, $1.7 billion to home health agencies, and $1.1 billion to "other").

• Lack of medical necessity — $4.4 billion total (includes $2 billion to inpatient hospitals, $0.2 billion to DME suppliers, $0.1 to billion home health, $0.1 billion to physicians, and $2 billion to "other").

• Coding errors — $2.1 billion total (includes $1.5 billion to physicians, $0.5 billion to inpatient hospitals, and $0.1 billion to "other").