May 23rd, 2013
It is increasingly well-known that improper payments cost taxpayers as much as $50 billion each year. These include reimbursements for billing for non-existent patients, falsified diagnoses, non-covered procedures, services not rendered or simply upcoded, as well as billing errors in favor of providers. Steps are being taken to address these issues through increased acceptance of approaches, tools and techniques from private industry and from industries outside of healthcare. More than just technology, some of the most powerful ideas to come along are that incentives matter, decentralization may achieve results faster and better, and stretch goals are crucial.
Scale of the problem
Safeguarding taxpayer resources and maintaining access to healthcare are clear public policy priorities. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has long designated Medicare as a high-risk federal program due to its vulnerability to waste, fraud and abuse. Conservative estimates by the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association are that improper payments represent 3 percent of national health care spending. The GAO and others estimate nearly 10 percent of the more than $500 billion in current annual Medicare payments are improper. At the same time, Medicare provides necessary — and often much needed — access to health care for 48 million Americans.Read the rest of this entry »