On Friday, the office announced (PDF) that none of the 51 instances of kwashiorkor billed by Columbia, S.C.'s Palmetto Health Baptist appeared to have been actual cases of the condition. The investigation recommended the hospital refund Medicare the $75,000 in extra reimbursements it received by coding its malnutrition cases using the higher-paying kwashiorkor diagnosis code.
Palmetto health officials didn't return calls for comment Friday, but a letter included in the audit said the hospital still believes it had two legitimate cases of the diagnosis. The remainder of the bills were submitted incorrectly or didn't have the documentation to support the diagnosis, Palmetto Health Chief Compliance Officer Wanda Taylor wrote.
Earlier this month, the office released two audits concluding that none of the 217 cases of kwashiorkor billed by two Catholic hospitals in Iowa and New Mexico in 2010-11 were legitimate cases of the condition.
All three hospitals blamed the errors on glitches in their billing and coding software, which have since been addressed, the hospitals said.
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