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FY 2022 HHS Agency Financial Report

Published on 

Monday, January 30, 2023

 | Coding 
 | Billing 

Payment Integrity: Medicare FFS Hospital Outpatient

The FY 2022 HHS Agency Financial Report ( was published in late 2022.  Section 3 of this document includes the Payment Integrity Report where HHS indicates “the actual overpayments identified by the Comprehensive Error Rate Testing program during the FY 2022 report period were $24,004,089.28. The MACs recovered the identified overpayments via standard payment recovery methods. As of the report publication date, MACs reported collecting $15,552,853.67 or 64.79 percent of the actual overpayment dollars.”


The improper payment estimate for hospital outpatient claims increased from 4.57 percent in RY 2021 to 5.43 percent in RY 2022. However, this increase was not statistically significant. The primary reason cited for hospital outpatient errors was “missing documentation to support the order, or the intent to order for certain services.   


Mitigation Strategies and Corrective Actions

HHS addresses improper payments through mitigation strategies and corrective actions believing that “targeted actions will prevent and reduce improper payments in these areas.” Strategies and corrective actions in the hospital outpatient setting cited in this report includes:  


Internal Policy Change: In 2020, HHS implemented the Prior Authorization for Certain Hospital Outpatient Department (OPD) Services process. This initiative was once again expanded in the CY 2023 OPPS Final Rule to include Facet Joint interventions effective July 1, 2023.


Internal Process: Medical Review Strategies

Medical review strategies are developed “using improper payment data to target the areas of highest risk and exposure. HHS requires its Medicare review contractors to identify and prevent improper payments due to documentation errors in certain error-prone claim types,” including hospital outpatient claims.


Audits: Targeted Probe & Educate (TPE)

Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) perform the TPE process. In 2022, MACs continued to offer extensions as needed due to the continued impacts of COVID-19. Approximately 3,280 hospital outpatient providers were reviewed by the MACs in 2022.


Audits: Supplemental Medical Review Contractor (SMRC)

The SMRC conducts reviews on a post-payment basis at the direction of CMS. When the SMRC completes a review, the results are shared with the MACs for claim adjustments. Providers receive detailed review result letters and MAC demand letters for overpayment recovery. Letters include educational information regarding what was incorrect in the original billing of the claim. In 2022, the SMRC performed post-payment medical reviews for 26,777 hospital outpatient claims.


Audits: Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC) Reviews

In 2022, the largest share of Medicare FFS RAC collections (37.4 percent) were from hospital outpatient overpayments.


Moving Forward

  • Prepare for the July 1, 2023 addition of Facet Joint interventions to the Prior Authorization for Certain OPD Services process.
  • Identify active TPE, SMRC and RAC review targets to assess your compliance with related documentation, coding, and billing requirements.
  • Respond to additional documentation requests in a timely manner.
Article Author: Beth Cobb, RN, BSN, ACM, CCDS
Beth Cobb, RN, BSN, ACM, CCDS, is the Manager of Clinical Analytics at Medical Management Plus, Inc. Beth has over twenty-five years of experience in healthcare including eleven years in Case Management at a large multi-facility health system. In her current position, Beth is a principle writer for MMP’s Wednesday@One weekly e-newsletter, an active member of our HIPAA Compliance Committee, MMP’s Education Department Program Director and co-developer of MMP’s proprietary Compliance Protection Assessment Tool.

This material was compiled to share information.  MMP, Inc. is not offering legal advice. Every reasonable effort has been taken to ensure the information is accurate and useful.