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OIG Report Finds Overpayments to Inpatient Rehab Facilities

On September 4, 2012 the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a report in which it found that during calendar years 2009 and 2010 Medicare made overpayments to Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (IRFs) totaling an estimated $8.4 million.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) establish a prospective payment rate for specific case-mix groups to which each beneficiary is assigned based on their expected clinical resource needs. IRF patient data is transmitted through Patient Assessment Instruments (PAIs) which contain the data on each beneficiary that is necessary to assign each to a case-mix group. IRF claims are processed and paid through Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs). The IRF must submit the PAI data to the MAC within 27 days from the beneficiary’s discharge date. If PAI data is submitted after the 27 day window, a 25% late assessment penalty is applied to the case-mix group.

In the report, the OIG published the results of an audit conducted over calendar years 2009 and 2010 which examined whether IRFs received the reduced case-mix group payments for claims with PAIs that were submitted after the 27 day window. During the audit timeframe, 2,414 claims were transmitted after the 27 day window which totaled $41.6 million. The audit examined a 108 claim sample, of which 88 did not receive the 25% case-mix reduction. From this sample the OIG estimated that $8.4 million in overpayments were made to IRFs.

The OIG made recommendations to CMS which included the following:

1. Adjust the 88 sampled claims for overpayments of $696,371 to the extent allowed under the law.
2. Work with the OIG to resolve the remaining 2,306 nonsampled claims with potential overpayments estimated at $7.7 million and recover overpayments.
3. Continue to provide specific education to IRFs on the importance of reporting the correct PAI transmission dates on their claims.
4. Support the MACs’ and RACs’ efforts to conduct periodic postpayment reviews of IRF claims.

In response to the report, CMS concurred with the findings of the OIG and outlined implementation possibilities for the recommendations.

If you have questions about submitting PAI data accurately, or need help defending an audit, please contact a Wachler & Associates healthcare attorney at 248-544-0888.