Nursing Homes Overbilling Medicare Costs Taxpayers Billions

According to federal officials, hundreds of nursing homes overcharge Medicare every year for fraudulent skilled nursing services, adding $1.5 billion in costs to the program annually. Of the facilities reviewed by officials, a quarter of them were incorrectly billing Medicare. Most the erroneous facilities were claiming more costly services than those actually provided to the patients. Others, were administering treatments that patients did not need, causing Medicare to pay for these unnecessary treatments.

The Obama administration has taken a special interest in reducing wasteful Medicare payments and says cutting fraud, waste and abuse in Medicare is a key part of reducing overall government spending. In the last three years, there has been at least $3.7 billion in fraudulently obtained health-care money, this accounts for nearly a third of all medical spending in the United States.

Reviewers also found examples where nursing homes provided more therapy during the period on which bills were based than they did during other periods. One facility even cut its therapy hours in half after the bill-setting period had ended.  Officials say Medicare has made some changes to reduce fraud, but they have suggested additional safeguards be put in place to prevent the misuse of tax-payer money. For more, read the story.

Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia

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