CMS: Better documentation cuts Medicare payment errors by half

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Medicare payment error rates were cut in half in 2005, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which attributed the error reduction to improved claims documentation.

The agency improperly paid 5.2% of claims in fiscal year 2005, compared to 10.1% in the year before, according to the CMS report released Nov. 10. The difference means a savings of $9.5 billion.
 
The total for improperly paid claims in 2005 was $12.1 billion, according to the error rate report. Approximately $1 billion of the improper payments were underpayments in the previous year, the report stated.

CMS is expected to release a longer, more comprehensive report with analysis of its findings at a later date, according to Kimberly Brandt, CMS program integrity director.

The 2005 and past years' error rate reports are available at
<http://www.cms.hhs.gov/CERT <http://www.cms.hhs.gov/CERT>