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HHS OIG Releases Report on Audit of Medicare Billing for Spinal Procedures

On Dec. 6, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a report titled “Medicare Improperly Paid Physicians for Spinal Facet-Joint Denervation Sessions.” The report assessed inappropriate billing for and overuse of spinal facet-joint denervation for pain management. According to the report, Medicare did not pay physicians for selected facet-joint denervation sessions in accordance with Medicare requirements. In total, the OIG found that Medicare improperly paid physicians $9.5 million and directed the Medicare Administrative Contractors to recover the improper payments and take steps to detect and prevent such payments in the future.