Feds question Texas, Fla. health billings

Aug. 4, 2012 at 2:23 PM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 4 (UPI) -- A federal healthcare watchdog wants to suspend enrollment of new providers in Texas and Florida because of questionable billings by home healthcare agencies.

The inspector general for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has found about 45 percent of Texas' 2,200 home health agencies filed questionable clams for Medicare reimbursement, the Fort Worth (Texas) StarTelegram reported.

The state is the major source of iffy claims, or about 40 percent of all suspect billings, the inspector general found.

Florida, at 25 percent, had the second-highest number of questionable billings.

Marilyn Tavenner, acting administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services which administers the funds, agreed the agency should institute a temporary moratorium on approving new providers in both Texas and Florida until the agency could "effectively and thoughtfully" evaluate areas and providers to target.

The inspector general's report was not based on medical documentation, but rather claims data, said Rachel Hammon, executive director of the Texas Association for Home Care & Hospice.

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