AAHomecare pushes for documentation relief
WASHINGTON, June 8, 2012—The American Association for Homecare is bringing attention to a report by the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) suggesting that Medicare is denying far too many DMEPOS claims because of technical problems with documentation.
Tyler Wilson, president of AAHomecare, said the report shows that the documentation process for Medicare reimbursements must be addressed in a substantial way.
“These claim denials are killing legitimate businesses,’’ Wilson said in an article published in AAHomecare’s Mobility Matters. “Providers are paying for products and services that are medically necessary for Medicare beneficiaries. Then, largely for technical reasons, the reimbursements for providers are being denied, and they muHME Indst go through a lengthy and costly appeals process to receive payment.”
AAHomecare cited a March 9 study in which the HHS Office of Inspector General concluded that improper Medicare payments reported to Congress for fiscal years 2009 and 2010 should have been reduced by about $2 billion annually because thousands of denied claims cited were later overturned and paid during the appeals process.
That shows the extent of flaws in CMS reimbursement and documentation policies, AAHomecare said. Under the current process, CMS is denying reimbursement claims for home medical equipment such as oxygen therapy, hospital beds and power wheelchairs unless certain guidelines are met.
“Clearly, however, the number of successful appeals at three different levels—Medicare Administrative Contractor, Qualified Independent Contractor and Administrative Law Judge—demonstrates that other authorities disagree with the way CMS and its contractors are reviewing claims,” the article said. “One major problem is the lack of a consistent and reasonable standard: Providers find that the policy guidelines are routinely applied differently in different regions of the country, and can even vary within the same region or claims office.”