OIG Cites “Vulnerabilities” in Medicare Wage Index System

The Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has “…observed significant vulnerabilities in the [Medicare area] wage index system…”  As a result of these vulnerabilities, Medicare has overpaid 272 hospitals by more than $140 million over the past 13 years. The vulnerabilities the OIG identified that contributed to these overpayments are: absent misrepresentation or falsification, CMS lacks the authority to penalize hospitals that submit inaccurate or incomplete wage data; Medicare Administrative Contractors’ limited reviews do not always identify inaccurate wage data; the rural floor decreases wage index accuracy; and hold-harmless provisions in federal [...]