KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Companies Providing Home Care Receive Large Medicare Reimbursements

An analysis of Medicare payments to home health care companies by The Wall Street Journal indicates that some might be taking advantage of the system. According to the analysis, the industry's largest company, Amedisys Inc., "provided many of its patients just enough therapy visits to trigger the extra $2,200 payment. In 2005, 2006 and 2007, very few Amedisys patients received nine therapy visits while a much higher percentage got 10 visits or more."

Problems are popping up at more than one company, however. "Medicare reimbursements for the entire home health-care industry are coming under increased scrutiny. The federal agency that advises Congress on Medicare payment issues, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, or MedPAC, warned last month that home health 'overpayments contribute to the insolvency' of the Medicare trust fund as well as premium increases that beneficiaries must pay" (Martinez, 4/26).

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