Can you say, ‘fraud’? Check this out…
WASHINGTON (AP) — Call it drugs for the departed: A quirky bureaucratic rule led Medicare’s prescription drug program to pay for costly medications even after the patients were dead.
That head-scratching policy is now getting a second look.
A report released Friday by the Health and Human Services Department’s inspector general said the Medicare rule allows payment for prescriptions filled up to 32 days after a patient’s death — at odds with the program’s basic principles, not to mention common sense.
“Drugs for deceased beneficiaries are clearly not medically indicated, which is a requirement for (Medicare) coverage,” the IG report said. It urged immediate changes to eliminate or restrict the payment policy.
Medicare said it’s working on a fix.
Investigators examined claims from 2012 for a tiny sliver of Medicare drugs — medications to treat HIV, the virus that causes AIDS — and then cross-referenced them with death records. They found that the program paid for drugs for 158 beneficiaries after they were already dead. The cost to taxpayers: $292,381, an average of $1,850 for each beneficiary.
Read more: AP