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Doctors, others billing Medicare at higher rates

The Washington Post, September 17, 2012

Thousands of doctors and other medical professionals have billed Medicare for increasingly complicated and costly treatments over the past decade, adding $11 billion or more to their fees—and signaling a possible rise in medical billing abuse, according to an investigation by the Center for Public Integrity. Between 2001 and 2010, doctors increasingly moved to higher-paying codes for billing Medicare for office visits while cutting back on lower-paying ones, according to a year-long examination of about 362 million claims. In 2001, the two highest codes were listed on about 25 percent of the doctor-visit claims; in 2010, they were on 40 percent.