The CMS paid more than $3 million for prescriptions filled in the names of dead Medicare enrollees between 2005 and 2007, and an audit (PDF) from HHS' inspector general's office says the agency has not recouped the money.
CMS paid over $3 million for deceased Medicare enrollees' prescriptions
The CMS is supposed to cut off all reimbursements in the same month that a Medicare Part D enrollee dies, and the agency did so for the vast majority of the 2.7 million enrollees who passed away between July 2005 and July 2007, the audit found. The CMS even retroactively recouped payments on behalf of another 2,222 beneficiaries in cases where it discovered that reimbursements were made more than a month after the deaths.
But the HHS inspector general’s office found that the CMS failed to detect or recoup money for an additional 1,500 dead beneficiaries, whose bills totaled $3.61 million during the two-year audit period.
In a written response to the report, CMS Administrator Dr. Donald Berwick said he believed the Medicare payer had already recovered the payments, though he concurred with the inspector’s recommendation to tighten internal controls. Inspectors responded in the audit that the CMS had not recovered the funds, and said they subsequently provided the CMS with the names of the deceased beneficiaries.
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