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Physicians can pay a heavy price for billing errors

People who have received a medical bill and people who have sent out medical bills can both testify to the truth of a recent report that says most medical bills contain errors. In fact, the error rate might be as high as 80 percent, says a health care advocacy group. Reinforcing the claim is Kaiser Health's related research that shows that the cost to citizens and companies for medical-billing mistakes is a staggering $68 billion.

Taken together, the inescapable conclusion is that doctors, hospitals, clinics, group practices and others are paying a heavy price for errors. Even worse, say experts, is that patients might suffer negative health consequences as a result of billing errors.

After all, billing errors can be directly related to mistakes made with diagnostic codes. If other health-care providers use those codes in putting together treatment plans, it is very possible that patients will receive improper treatment or misdiagnosis.

It is also possible that billing errors will lead to other problems for physicians and practices that bill services to Medicare. The program has a no-tolerance policy when it comes to such mistakes.

So errors can result in a physician and practice being prohibited from future Medicare billing, a recent news article pointed out.

Even worse, billing errors can in some cases raise suspicions of health care fraud and prompt investigations.

The billing department supervisor for the WCH Service Bureau says billing mistakes are most common at small and independent practices. She says inaccurate bills are the result of a "combination of busy doctors and undertrained staff."

If you believe your New York City practice might be under investigation over matters connected to Medicare billing errors or related concerns, contact the law offices of Rivas Goldstein, LLP.

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