Geisinger ordered to pay back $1.3M after overbilling Medicare

Perhaps a savvy and timely PR move by Geisinger? A day after the system's Danville, Pa.-medical center agreed to pay the feds $1.3 million over "erroneously submitted" improper Medicare claims, it was revealed that the system as a whole is handing out $5 million worth of bonuses to 10,000 non-doctor and non-executive employees. 

The disputed claims, submitted from 2001 through 2006, billed Medicare for evaluation and management services known as "Modifier 25" that aren't supposed to be covered. Geisinger Chief Administrative Officer Thomas Sokola played off the severity of the government repayment, calling it "ordinary" and occasional. To Sokola's credit, U.S. Attorney Peter Smith said in his own announcement that Geisinger had fixed its billing practices prior to the government's intervention, voluntarily refunding more than $500,000 for other, unrelated overpayments received. 

Meanwhile, the bonuses, which will be distributed today in increments of as much as $800 per employee, were only approved last month, reports WNEP-TV. Executive Vice President of Clinical Enterprise Lynn Miller told WNEP that this was the first time the system had distributed bonuses in such a fashion. 

"Our employees have worked very, very hard over the last couple of years, and we've done some really great things," Miller said. "So, we wanted to say, on behalf of the organization, 'thank you.'" 

Performance and time with the company will determine the amount of each employee's bonus check. 

To learn more:
- check out this announcement from Smith's office
- read this Times Leader piece
- here's the WNEP-TV story