House members look to ease Medicare audit burden on hospitals

But the bill, H.R. 6575, would also introduce new penalties against contractors that exhibit a pattern of failure to meet recovery audit requirements, and also calls for more transparency in the performance of recovery auditors themselves. For example, it would require these auditors to publish information about how many audits they conduct and the results of those audits.

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Graves said that recovering improperly spent Medicare funds is critical, but said some steps need to be taken to ease the burden of those audits on hospitals.

"While I believe we must continue to identify and correct verifiable fraud, hospitals have been buried in the administrative burdens put on them by Medicare audit contractors," he said. "Doctors and nurses should be focused on caring for patients, not trying to comply with the ever-increasing requests for documents.

"My bill would put in place common-sense reforms allowing auditors to still conduct adequate oversight of billing problems without an open-ended invitation from CMS to continually bombard hospitals," he added, referring to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

"Our smaller, rural hospitals are especially ill-equipped to deal with this increased administrative burden. When I heard about this issue from many of the small-town, rural hospitals in my district, I was concerned and knew we had to act on their behalf."

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