More than 54% of all Medicare payments made to chiropractors in 2014 were incorrect, according to a recent Medicare report (pdf).
Chiropractic services had the highest rate of improper payments out of 20 services documented, which will likely lead to increased scrutiny and audits from Medicare, and may even encourage commercial payers to more closely review claims filed by chiropractors.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services data in the "Medicare Fee-for-Service 2014 Improper Payments Report," the 54.1% error rate — determined through the analysis of a 718 claims sample — resulted in more than $303 million in improper payments.
The primary type of error leading to improper payment was insufficient data, accounting for a little more than 92% of the errors. Medical necessity was the second leading cause, at a little less than 5%, with no documentation as the third highest error at just over 2%.
In a closer examination of chiropractic manipulation (98941) claims, Medicare data indicated an overpayment rate of 52.7%, with almost 49% of claims containing errors.
Rounding out the top five services with the highest rate of improper payment were lab tests (36.1%), initial hospital visits (31.3%), critical care hospital visits (29.2%) and psychiatry services (29.2%).
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