OIG to CMS: Increase surety bond amounts
WASHINGTON – The Office of Inspector General (OIG) has made another push for CMS to use surety bonds to recover overpayments from HME providers.
In a report this month that updates a similar report from 2011, the OIG stated that, as of July 2012, CMS has collected only $263,000 out of the millions it could have collected using the surety bond requirement.
The OIG also raised the stakes by recommending, among other things, that CMS use its legislative authority under the Affordable Care Act to require increased surety bond amounts for suppliers that receive high overall Medicare payments.
“Most overpayments will likely remain uncollected because a number of suppliers had overpayments of more than $50,000 and CMS can recover only up to the amount of the surety bond,” the OIG stated.
The OIG also recommended that CMS improve oversight of supplier data to ensure accurate and consistent information, and review collection guidelines to state that collection of debts through surety bonds is based on dates of service. CMS concurred with the OIG’s recommendations.
CMS began requiring providers to obtain surety bonds of at least $50,000 in October 2009. One of the goals of the requirement: Ensure that the agency recovers erroneous payments resulting from fraudulent or abusive billing practices.
Industry stakeholders reported last year an uptick in the number of claims filed against surety bonds by Medicare.