Senate committee: CMS audits need improvement

Unlike other federal government programs, Medicare improper payment rates climbed in fiscal year 2013, according to a report released last week by the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging. "Despite doing more audits than ever before, Medicare just isn't getting the job done when it comes to preventing payment errors," said Senate Committee Chairman Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) after reading the report. Specifically, CMS failed to review areas of known problems, applied inconsistent payment rules and performed redundant audits, the report found. Performance improvement recommendations for CMS included paying its contractors based on their ability to prevent (rather than simply find) overpayments, eliminating duplicative reviews and choosing providers to audit based on improper payment rates. Report (.pdf)