UCSD Medical Center audit finds more than $300,000 overpayed due to inaccurate billing

The significant emphasis currently being placed on digital healthcare is designed to improve patient care through a series of innovative functions including technology that reduces a medical facility's margin of error.

However, according to an article published yesterday by the San Diego Reader, a federal audit of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Medical Center undertaken by the Inspector General of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) found the facility was engaged in erroneous billing practices.

After auditors analyzed a sample of 210 facility claims, 99 were found to have overcharged Medicare, amounting to a gross total of $350,897 in overpayments during 2008 and 2009, the article reports.

While the article states that UCSD Medical Center's chief compliance and privacy officer, Kathleen Naughton, did not agree with all of HHS's conclusions, she did corroborate that many of the reported infractions did take place.

In order to remedy the issue, HHS is recommending that the facility refund the entire amount yielded in overpayments based on faulty billing for both inpatient and outpatient care, the article states.

Interestingly, the article cites testimony from the auditors who mentioned that, "These overpayments occurred primarily because the hospital’s existing controls did not adequately prevent incorrect billing of these Medicare claims."

Considering the fact that it was the billing infrastructure that resulted in the inaccurate billing practices, facility managers looking to avoid the stress of a similar auditing process may want to consult with a medical technology consulting firm to implement electronic billing software such as Medisoft Version 17.

Medical tech consultants can both implement the software as well as ensure staff are thoroughly trained to use it properly, affording a practice with simplified patient accounting and collection tracking, and ultimately diminishing the likelihood of erroneous billing. 

Microwize Technology is a leading healthcare IT consultant offering products such as electronic medical records software and medical billing software from top providers like Allscripts and McKesson, including McKesson's Medisoft, Lytec and Practice Choice products.