OIG: No More Identical Claims NPIs

Published: 2010-07-18 18:06:46
Author: Home Care | April 14, 2010

WASHINGTON — Along with the list of items the HHS Office of Inspector General has said it will examine this year in the DME sector, its latest report turns attention back to what the OIG calls a “claims processing vulnerability.”

Issued April 9 as a follow-up to a previous review, the new report found that Medicare paid $87 million for equipment and supplies without verifying the presence of a referring physician. The claims in question, which were paid between May 23, 2008—when a temporary provision took effect allowing providers to use their own NPI if they cannot get one from the physician—and Sept. 30, 2009, had identical national provider identifier (NPI) numbers for both the referring physician and the DME provider.

The report noted the temporary provision will expire on Jan. 3, 2011 (after two delays, the OIG pointed out), when CMS’ PECOS edits will be activated. But in the interim, the OIG said it found that “CMS’ claims-processing systems did not verify that the equipment and/or supplies associated with these payments were ordered by an eligible physician as required.“

The report added that payments for claims with identical NPIs declined over the first seven months after the temporary provision became effective, but generally increased thereafter.

According to the report, 10 codes out of approximately 1,200 accounted for half of the $87 million that was paid for this type of claim during the review period. Oxygen concentrators (E1390) made up the greatest percentage of the payments (10 percent), and three diabetic shoe insert codes (A5500, A5512 and A5513) accounted for 22 percent. The list of codes also includes standard power wheelchairs (K0823) at 4 percent.

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