Analysis of Durable Medical Equipment Claims at Kansas City Blue Shield

HRD-83-73: Published: Jul 8, 1983. Publicly Released: Jul 8, 1983.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO analyzed Government reimbursement to Medicare carriers for rented durable medical equipment (DME).

GAO analyzed a regional Medicare carrier and found that, of the 20 DME items it had rented, savings would have been realized on 16 of the items had they been routinely purchased. GAO noted that its earlier estimates showed that about 21 percent of the carrier's total 1979 DME costs were excessive. Further, one-third of these excess payments could have been avoided had a 1977 law been implemented requiring DME items to be purchased only if it would be more economical than renting. GAO concluded that it is more economical to purchase rather than rent DME items costing less than $120.

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