September 16, 2008
The rate of improper Medicare payments for wheelchairs and other durable medical equipment is much higher than the government has estimated, according to a report from the Dept. of Health and Human Services’ Inspector General.
The report found an “error rate” of almost 29 percent in a sample of claims paid in 2006 under Medicare’s multibillion-dollar durable medical equipment program. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services had estimated a rate of 7.5 percent, or about $700 million in improper payments. Some of these improper payments were the result of insufficient documentation or lack of medical necessity, but others were the result of fraud.