The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)--the agency that administers Medicare--estimated that the program made about $700 million in improper payments for durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS) from April 1, 2005, through March 31, 2006. To protect Medicare from improper DMEPOS payments, CMS relies on three Program Safeguard Contractors (PSC), and four contractors that process Medicare claims, to conduct critical program integrity activities. GAO was requested to examine CMS's and CMS's contractors' activities to prevent and minimize improper payments for DMEPOS, and describe CMS's oversight of PSC program integrity activities. To do this, GAO analyzed DMEPOS claims data by supplier and item to identify atypical, or large, increases in billing; reviewed CMS documents; and conducted interviews with CMS and contractor officials. GAO focused its work on contractors' automated prepayment controls and described related claims analysis functions.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services||The Administrator of CMS should require the PSCs to develop thresholds for unexplained increases in billing--and use them to develop automated prepayment controls as one component of their manual medical review strategies.|
|Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services||The Administrator of CMS should require the Durable Medical Equipment Medicare Administrative Contractors, Durable Medical Equipment Regional Carrier, and PSCs to exchange information on their automated prepayment controls, and have each of these contractors consider whether the automated prepayment controls developed by the others could reduce their incidence of improper payments.|