National Medicaid Audit Program:

CMS Should Improve Reporting and Focus on Audit Collaboration with States

GAO-12-814T: Published: Jun 14, 2012. Publicly Released: Jun 14, 2012.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Carolyn L. Yocom
(202) 512-7114
yocomc@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

What GAO Found

We found that, compared to the initial test audits and the more recent collaborative audits, the majority of the MIG audits conducted under NMAP were less effective because they used Medicaid Statistical Information System (MSIS) data. MSIS is an extract of states’ claims data and is missing key elements, such as provider names, that are necessary for identifying audit targets. Since fiscal year 2008, a small fraction (4 percent) of the 1,550 MSIS audits identified $7.4 million in potential overpayments, over two-thirds did not identify overpayments, and the remaining audits (27 percent) were ongoing. In contrast, 26 test audits and 6 collaborative audits—which used states’ more robust Medicaid Management Information System (MMIS) claims data and allowed states to select the audit targets—together identified more than $12 million in potential overpayments. Furthermore, the typical amount of the potential overpayment for MSIS audits ($16,000) was smaller than the amounts identified through test and collaborative audits—$140,000 and $600,000—respectively.

The MIG reported that it is redesigning NMAP, but has not provided Congress with key details about the changes it is making to the program, including why it changed to collaborative audits, new analytical roles for its contractors, and its plans to monitor and evaluate the redesign. Early results showed that this collaborative approach may enhance state program integrity activities by allowing states to leverage the MIG’s resources to augment their own program integrity capacity. However, the lack of a published plan detailing how the MIG will monitor and evaluate NMAP raises concerns about the MIG’s ability to effectively manage the program. Given that NMAP has accounted for more than 40 percent of MIG expenditures, transparent communications and a strategy to monitor and continuously improve NMAP are essential components of any plan seeking to demonstrate the MIG’s effective stewardship of the resources provided by Congress.

Why GAO Did This Study

This testimony discusses the National Medicaid Audit Program. Until recently, Medicaid program integrity had been primarily a state responsibility. Specifically, states have been responsible for ensuring the qualifications of the providers who bill the program, detecting improper payments, recovering overpayments, and referring suspected cases of fraud and abuse to law enforcement authorities. At the federal level, however, the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA) created the Medicaid Integrity Program to oversee and support state program integrity efforts, and, among other actions, directed the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to hire contractors to review and audit state Medicaid claims data. CMS established the Medicaid Integrity Group (MIG) to implement and oversee the National Medicaid Audit Program (NMAP).

This statement will highlight key findings from a report prepared at Congressional request. This report focuses on: (1) the effectiveness of the MIG’s implementation of NMAP and (2) the MIG’s efforts to redesign NMAP.

For more information, contact Carolyn L. Yocom at (202) 512-7114 or yocomc@gao.gov.

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