Md. audit finds Medicaid keeps paying for dead people

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Dec. 19, 2011

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

Maryland's Medicaid agency has not ended payment of Medicaid fees for all enrollees who die outside the state, according to an audit released Dec. 2 by the Maryland Dept. of Legislative Services' Office of Legislative Audits.

Auditors found that the state paid at least $426,403 in Medicaid fees between Jan. 1, 2008, and Aug. 31, 2011, relating to the coverage of 10 people who had died. Most of the improper payments were monthly capitation fees paid to Medicaid managed care organizations.

State auditors found the discrepancies by comparing state Medicaid enrollee records with death records kept by the Social Security Administration. They found 323 possible cases in which Medicaid fees appear to have been paid after a Maryland enrollee died out of state. However, auditors found that only 10 of the first 20 cases they reviewed in detail were actual payment errors.

The Social Security death record database does include a small number of people who are still alive, but that error rate typically is less than one-quarter of 1%, according to the audit. Auditors recommended that state Medicaid officials regularly cross-reference Medicaid enrollee records with the federal database.

The Maryland Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene plans to begin using the SSA data to verify Medicaid enrollment, said Charles Milligan, the department's deputy secretary for health care financing. The SSA database has fewer errors than it once did, he said.

Maryland's Medicaid program cost $7.7 billion in fiscal year 2011, more than half of which was paid for by the federal government, according to the audit, which is available online (link).

Note: This item originally appeared at

Back to top



Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story

Read story


American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story

Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story

Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story

Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story

Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story

Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story

Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story

  • Stay informed
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • LinkedIn