Monday, January 28, 2008


From today's online Union Leader:

Ambulance firm denies fault, but pays almost $1 million

CONCORD – Rockingham Regional Ambulance has agreed to pay $958,000 to resolve allegations it overbilled Medicare and Medicaid.

U.S. Attorney Tom Colantuouno and New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte announced the settlement in a press release issued today.

Rockingham provides ambulance services throughout the state. Its parent corporations include Covenant Health Systems Inc., St. Joseph Hospital of Nashua and St. Joseph Hospital Corporate Services Inc.

The company, without admitting any liability, agreed to pay $882,000 to the U.S. government and $76,000 to the state to resolve over billing allegations.

According to the press release, Rockingham is paying the fine to resolve allegations that between April 1, 2003 and April 30, 2006, it billed the health programs for providing advanced life support services when it was not medically necessary or not documented properly.

The payment also settled allegations that between April 1, 2003 and Dec. 31, 2004, it submitted claims to Medicare using a billing code indicating it provided emergency basic life support when services were provided for non-emergency situations.

Federal and state investigators alleged as a result of those actions, Rockingham received payments from Medicare and Medicaid that it was not entitled to receive.

After being advised of the allegations, Rockingham fully cooperated in the investigation, according to officials.

In addition to paying the settlement amount, Rockingham agreed to enter into a separate Corporate Integrity Agreement with the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Now I understand why there have been so many internal changes at work.... And it makes sense as to the reasons why we've implemented a number of billing and documentation changes. After reading that news report, it's clear to me.

That all said, however, what I don't understand is the need to threaten employees with disciplinary action if the changes aren't followed to the letter. Again - I understand the need for accurate documentation, and I am one of those who is anal retentive about it. However, it can be difficult to pull it all together sometimes when you're three deep in run reports because there have been no stops because it's been busy. I think sometimes those folks in charge forget that part of the job.

At the risk of repeating myself, it would really have been nice if someone in our management explained to us the reason for all of the changes. Nobody in our chain of command ever thought to tell us who work on the street the reason why we had to make these changes happen as fast as we did.

It pisses me off.

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Jay said...

Because 95% of the time, management sucks!

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