(CNSNews.com) – The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) made “improper payments” of $64.2 billion in fiscal year 2012, according to the federal websitePaymentAccuracy, with the bulk of the improper spending funneled through the health care programs Medicare and Medicaid.
The government defines an “improper payment” as follows: “funds go to the wrong recipient;the right recipient receives the incorrect amount of funds (including overpayments and underpayments); documentation is not available to support a payment; or the recipient uses funds in an improper manner.”
The improper payments at HHS were made through “high-error programs” as identified by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The HHS has five of 13 “high-error programs,” according to OMB. Those programs and their improper payments for FY2012 are listed below:
Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit (Part D) -- $1.6 billion
Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) -- 0.7 billion
That totals $64,200,000,000.00.
(The fiscal year, 2012, ran from Oct. 1, 2011 through Sept. 30, 2012.)
Visitors to the website can click on an individual program to see details, including the increase or decrease in improper payments over time and the percentage of the total paid out by each program that was improperly paid.
Under Medicare Fee-For-Service, for example, it shows that the HHS program paid out $349.7 billion overall, with $29.6 billion – or 8.5 percent – of that outlay paid improperly.