RAC overhaul bill approved

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Wyden: Realize patient consequences
Wyden: Realize patient consequences

The Senate Finance Committee has approved legislation aimed at changing how questionable Medicare payments are handled by Recovery Audit Contractors.

The Audit & Appeal Fairness, Integrity, and Reforms in Medicare Act of 2015 would add more people to process claims, fast track lower-cost claims by giving them to separate hearing officers, and exempt providers who consistently bill correctly from certain audits. 

Currently, OMHA can process 77,000 appeals annually — nowhere near the 474,000 received in 2014.

“It's important to remember that behind each case is a patient paying out-of-pocket,” committee ranking member Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) said in a statement.