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What the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) characterizes as improper payments under the Medicare program declined for the sixth straight year in 2001, according to a report from the Department of Health and Human Services.
The improper payments declined to 6.3% ($12.1 billion) of the $191.8 billion in Medicare payments last year. That’s down from a 6.8% rate, or $11.9 billion, in 2000, and less than half the 13.8% rate estimated in 1996, according to the report.
The OIG began estimating in 1996 the percentage of fee-for-service Medicare payments involving medically unnecessary services, documentation deficiencies, or miscoding. For 2001, the OIG randomly examined the medical records for 6,594 claims filed for 600 beneficiaries, out of 931 million claims filed for 34 million fee-for-service enrollees.
For more information, go to http://oig.hhs.gov/oas/reports/cms/a0102002.htm.