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Delaware Health Law Blog

HHS Office of Inspector General Fraud and Abuse Focus: FY 2015 Work Plan

Each year, the Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) at the Department of Health and Human Services announces the agency’s new and continuing initiatives to combat health care fraud and abuse.  The annual OIG Work Plan helps health care providers understand new, and some recurring, areas that the OIG believes are key in the fight to protect the federal fisc.  We have previously discussed such key initiatives to help Delaware providers identify and focus on potential areas of compliance risk before issues arise (2012, 2013, 2014).

The OIG released its FY 2015 Work Plan on October 31, and our review has revealed some key initiatives:

Physicians and other Practitioners:

  • Anesthesia services and payments for personally performed services.  The OIG plans to review Part B claims for personally performed anesthesia services to determine whether claims met Medicare requirements and to determine whether services reported with the “AA” service code modifier met Medicare requirements.
  • Ophthalmologist inappropriate and questionable billing. In 2010, Medicare allowed more than $6.8 billion for services provided by ophthalmologists. The OIG will review claims data to identify potentially inappropriate and questionable billing for services during calendar year 2012.
  • Physician place-of-service coding errors. The OIG will review coding on Part B claims for services performed in ASCs and hospital outpatient departments. The OIG has previously determined that physicians are not always correctly coding nonfacility places of services, which may result in higher payments.
  • Chiropractic services. The OIG announced its continued intentions related to chiropractic services. The agency previously discovered inappropriate payments and will continue its review to determine whether payments for chiropractic services were claimed in accordance with Medicare requirements. The OIG has identified one example of a chiropractor with a 93% error rate and inappropriate Medicare payments of nearly $700,000. The OIG plans to make recommendations to reduce Medicare vulnerabilities with respect to chiropractic services.
  • Diagnostic Radiology. The OIG will review high-cost diagnostic radiology tests to determine medical necessity and the extent to which utilization has increased.
  • Independent clinical lab billing requirements. The OIG plans to review Medicare payments to independent labs to determine compliance with billing requirements, and use the results to identify clinical labs that routinely submit improper claims in order to identify overpayments for recoupment.


  • New inpatient admission criteria. The OIG will continue to focus on how the two-midnight rule is impacting hospital billing and examine the variability among hospitals.
  • Oversight of provider-based status.  Since provider-based status allows facilities to bill as hospital outpatient departments, it can result in high Medicare payments for services furnished at the facility and may increase beneficiary coinsurance liability. The OIG will determine whether provider-based facilities are meeting CMS criteria.
  • Inpatient claims for mechanical ventilation. The OIG will review Medicare payments for inpatient claims with certain MS-DRG assignments that require mechanical ventilation. The purpose of the review is to determine whether hospitals’ DRG assignments and Medicare payments were appropriate.

Hospice and Home Health

  • Hospices in assisted living facilities and hospice general inpatient care. The OIG continues to scrutinize hospice billings, which are also a focus for False Claims Act relators, and will review the use of hospice general inpatient care to determine whether the level of care is being misused.
  • Home health prospective payment system requirements. Prior OIG work found that one in four home health agencies had questionable billing and CMS has designated newly enrolling agencies as high-risk providers.  With that in mind, the OIG will continue to review and scrutinize HHA documentation to determine whether it supports claims paid by Medicare.
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