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OIG Targets FL Providers for Medicare Abuses

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, December 27, 2010

Miami-Dade County in Florida was again targeted for higher per capita medical spending and questionable billing practices during 2009 in two  Office of Inspector General reports, one which scrutinized spending on inhaler medications and the other which examined costs for outpatient therapy.

In the first report, the agency found that Medicare paid suppliers in South Florida for up to 10 times more units of the inhalation drug arformoterol than the drug's manufacturer and the three largest wholesalers distributed for sale in the area in 2008 and the first half of 2009, suggesting that suppliers were billing for drugs that were never purchased.

"Based on data for the manufacturer and the 3 largest wholesalers, Florida suppliers billed Medicare for up to 17 times than the amount that could have legitimately been billed," the OIG report said.

"Furthermore, the $62 million billed by South Florida suppliers for arformoterol during this period far exceeds the total possible sales in the area," the agency said. "Based on sales data for arformoterol's manufacturer and the three largest wholesalers, it does not appear that these suppliers purchased enough of the drug to justify these payments."

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