Friday, September 28, 2012

Medicare Bills Jump as Billing goes Electronic

New York Times article on "Medicare Bills Rise as Records Turn Electronic," September 22, 2012

The NY Times describes how US health costs rose steeply when the federal govermnent began incentives to encourage doctors and hospitals to use electronic record-keeping of patients. Why? It appears that the electronic billing forms allowed easy access for "add-on" claims for phantom services. The result?    Medicare costs shot upward and hospitals and doctors collected $1 billion more from Medicare in 2010 than they had received five years earlier.

On September 25, Medicare announced that it will investigate this development and design ways to reduce what appears to be wholesale bilking of sick people, including many of whom are older. But can Medicare devise and enforce effective ways to insure that doctors and hospitals are billing for their actual costs? As consumers, you and I must check our bills for medical services to learn whether the medical professionals actually performed the tasks they claim. If they did not, notify Medicare.

Older persons often need and have a right to quality medical attention. But we must protect Medicare from phantom services. Have you discovered over-billing on your medical bills? If so, share your experience with Global Action on Aging and our readers.

Have a great day, Susanne Paul for Global Action on Aging

1 comment:

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