United States General Accounting Office Washington, DC 20548 October 6, 2003 The Honorable Thomas A. Scully Administrator Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Subject: Medicare: Discrepancy in Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System Methodology Leads to Inaccurate Beneficiary Copayments and Medicare Payments Dear Mr. Scully: Under the Medicare hospital outpatient prospective payment system (OPPS), beneficiaries can be responsible for paying 50 percent or more of the total payment for outpatient services they receive in hospitals. The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (BBA)1 introduced a mechanism to gradually decrease beneficiary cost sharing to 20 percent of the payment rate for each hospital outpatient service.2 The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published a final rule that implemented, effective with the 2002 payment rates, a methodology for calculating copayment amounts that was designed to ensure that even as certain changes affect the payment 3 rates for hospital outpatient services over time, beneficiary coinsurance for services would eventually be 20 percent of the total payment rate for each service.4 Under this 2002 methodology, the copayment amount for each outpatient payment group of services, called an ambulatory payment classification (APC) group, could not increase from year to year, and the beneficiary coinsurance percentage would remain the same or decrease, eventually reaching 20 percent for each APC.5 1 Pub. L. No 105-33, § 4523(a), 111 Stat. 251, 445. 2 Beneficiary cost sharing will decline to 20 percent at a different time for each outpatient service depending on the service’s initial cost-sharing percentage. In 2000, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission estimated that achieving a 20 percent cost-sharing rate for services will take an average of 30 to 40 years. 3 We use the term “coinsurance” to refer to the percentage of the Medicare payment amount that beneficiaries are responsible for paying for a service under the OPPS. We use the term “copayment” to refer to the dollar amount that beneficiaries are responsible for paying for a service under the OPPS. 4 66 Fed. Reg. 59,856, 59,888 (2001). 5 Under the OPPS, outpatient services with clinical and resource use similarities are grouped into APCs for payment purposes. Each service within an APC is paid at the same rate. The total payment rate for an APC is composed of two parts: an amount that the beneficiary is responsible for paying and an amount that Medicare is responsible for paying. As the beneficiary coinsurance proportion declines to 20 percent, the proportion that GAO-04-103R Medicare Hospital Outpatient Payments When CMS published the final rule updating the OPPS payment rates for 2003, the agency stated that it used the methodology implemented in 2002 for determining 2003 copayments.6 However, in the course of other ongoing work, we found several APCs for which copayment amounts increased from 2002 to 2003, contrary to the methodology implemented in 2002.7 For a federal agency to adopt a new position or payment methodology that is inconsistent with existing rules and regulations, it must follow Administrative Procedure Act rulemaking requirements, which generally include publishing its intentions and allowing for public comment.8 Because of our concerns about this methodological discrepancy, we discussed the issue with CMS staff in May 2003. Thereafter, in its August 2003 proposed rule setting forth the 2004 OPPS payment rates, CMS stated that it would revise and clarify the copayment methodology implemented in 2002, and that this revised methodology would be used to calculate copayment amounts beginning in 2004.9 In this report, we present our complete analysis of the 2003 copayment methodology and the implications its use holds for copayment amounts in 2003 and future years. We also present the estimated financial impact this methodology has had on both beneficiary cost sharing and Medicare payments in 2003. To estimate the impact of the 2003 copayment methodology on beneficiary cost- sharing obligations, we used 2001 Medicare outpatient claims data10 together with the 569 APC groups in 2003 and the 2003 payment rates. We calculated the 2003 copayment amount for each of the APCs according to the 2002 methodology and calculated the difference between that amount and the amount published in the 2003 OPPS final rule. We compiled a list of the differences, multiplied the difference by the respective service volume for each APC from the 2001 claims, and then summed them across all affected APCs to estimate the total amount of inaccurate copayments. See Enclosure I for more details on our methodology. We performed our work in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards from May through October 2003. In summary, we found that use of a copayment methodology in 2003 that differed from the copayment methodology in 2002 has resulted in inaccurate 2003 copayment Medicare is responsible for will increase. Once the coinsurance percentage is 20 percent of the payment rate, the copayment amount will increase to maintain the 20 percent coinsurance rate if the payment rate increases. 6 67 Fed. Reg. 66,718, 66,788 (2002). 7 In this report we will refer to the methodology CMS implemented for 2002 as the 2002 copayment methodology. We will refer to the methodology used for 2003, but not implemented through the rulemaking process, as the 2003 copayment methodology. 8 See, e.g., Shalala v. Guernsey Memorial Hosp., 514 U.S. 87, 100 (1995). 9 68 Fed. Reg. 47,966, 48,006-07 (2003). 10 The 2001 Medicare outpatient claims contain all outpatient claims for services furnished on or after April 1, 2001 and on or before March 31, 2002. 2 GAO-04-103R Medicare Hospital Outpatient Payments amounts for 75 APCs.11 For 28 APCs, this methodology has resulted in beneficiaries being responsible for higher copayments than they would have been under the 2002 methodology. For 47 APCs, beneficiaries are responsible for lower copayments, and, therefore, Medicare is making higher payments than it would have under the 2002 methodology. Moreover, under this methodology, copayment amounts for some APCs may never decline to 20 percent of the APC payment rate. Although CMS is proposing to revise the copayment methodology for 2004, the agency did not recalculate the 2003 copayment amounts using the 2002 methodology before using them as the basis for calculating the 2004 copayment amounts. Thus, certain proposed 2004 copayment amounts are higher and others are lower than they would have been if CMS had used the 2002 methodology in 2003. In addition, the time it will take for the copayment amounts for some of these APCs to reach 20 percent of the APC payment rate will increase. We estimate that in 2003 the methodology used by CMS will result in about $414 million in inaccurate copayments, with a net of $192 million in Medicare program overpayments. Specifically, we estimate beneficiaries will be overcharged by approximately $111 million for certain services, and Medicare will overpay by approximately $303 million for other services. We recommend that, for the purpose of calculating the 2004 OPPS beneficiary copayment amounts, the Administrator of CMS first apply the 2002 copayment methodology to the 2003 APCs for which beneficiaries were inaccurately charged. The 2004 copayment amounts should then be based on these revised 2003 copayment amounts. In written comments on a draft of this report, CMS stated that it would take the information we provided into consideration as part of issuing its 2004 final rule. Background The initial OPPS payment rates that went into effect August 1, 2000 were based on hospitals’ median costs in 1996. The initial copayment amounts were based on hospitals’ median charges for the same year, but were to be no lower than 20 percent of the payment rate for each APC. Because hospitals’ median charges usually exceeded hospitals’ median costs, the copayments for most APCs were set at levels well above 20 percent of the payment rate. BBA provides the methodology by which copayment amounts were to be initially determined and specifies that a copayment amount for an APC would be held constant as the payment rate increases for that APC with the annual inflation adjustment until the copayment amount declines to 20 percent of the payment rate. However, BBA does not specify how copayments are to be determined when CMS reviews and revises the APCs, as it is required to do at least annually in accordance with section 1833(t)(9)(A) of the Social Security Act.12 CMS takes into account changes in medical practice and technology and the addition of new services, cost 11 Enclosure II contains a list of these APCs. 12 42 U.S.C. § 1395l(t)(9) (2000). 3 GAO-04-103R Medicare Hospital Outpatient Payments data, and other relevant information and makes revisions in the services assigned to a particular APC, known as reclassification, and in the relative payment weight for an APC, known as recalibration. Thus, although the payment rates are annually adjusted upward for inflation, an APC’s payment rate could either increase or decrease from one year to the next because of reclassification and recalibration or recalibration alone. In the final rule that established the 2002 OPPS rates, CMS set forth a methodology for calculating copayments that was designed to take reclassification and recalibration changes into account and ensure that the copayment amount for a particular APC would not increase from one year to the next due to these changes, until it represented 20 percent of the total payment rate. CMS stated that if an APC’s payment rate increased, the copayment dollar amount would remain the same, causing the coinsurance percentage to decrease. If an APC’s payment rate decreased, the coinsurance percentage for the APC would remain the same, causing the copayment amount to decrease. If two or more APCs were combined to make a new APC, the lowest of the contributing APCs’ coinsurance percentages would apply to the new APC.13 According to the 2002 copayment methodology, the transfer of a service from one APC to another is not considered the creation of a new APC. The 14 proposed 2004 copayment methodology confirms this position. Change in 2003 Copayment Methodology Affects Beneficiary Copayment Amounts in 2003 and Future Years In the final rule that established the 2003 payment rates, CMS stated that it calculated the copayment amounts using the 2002 methodology.15 However, when the 2003 copayment amounts were calculated in that final rule, CMS made unexplained modifications that were inconsistent with its rules. As a result, the 2003 copayment amounts for 28 APCs increased compared to the 2002 amounts, and the copayment amounts for 47 other APCs decreased more than they would have using the 2002 methodology. In addition, under the 2003 methodology, copayment amounts for some APCs may not have eventually declined to 20 percent of the APC payment rate. Finally, certain proposed 2004 copayment amounts are higher and others are lower than they would have been if CMS had consistently applied the 2002 methodology in 2003. The fundamental difference between the 2002 and 2003 methodologies was that, according to CMS documentation, for 2003, CMS deemed any APC that had one or more services added to it to be a “new” APC. In 2002, an APC was not considered to 13 66 Fed. Reg. 59,856, 59,888 (2001). 14 68 Fed. Reg. 47,966, 48,006 (2003). 15 67 Fed. Reg. 66,718, 66,788 (2002). 4 GAO-04-103R Medicare Hospital Outpatient Payments be new if it had services added to it.16 Under the 2002 methodology, CMS calculated the copayment amount of an APC containing reclassified services, referred to as a “revised” APC, from its own copayment amount or coinsurance percentage from the previous year depending on whether the payment rate increased or decreased. Under the 2003 methodology, CMS calculated the copayment amount of an APC containing reclassified services by adopting the lowest coinsurance percentage from the previous year of any APC that contributed a service to that APC. This change, when coupled with payment changes, led the copayment amounts for some APCs to inaccurately increase or decrease between 2002 and 2003. In order to illustrate how the methodology used in 2003 affected copayment amounts, we present two simplified hypothetical examples below. Example 1: Demonstration of How the 2003 CMS Copayment Methodology Led to Inaccurately High 2003 Beneficiary Copayment Amounts In 2002, hypothetical APC 1 had a payment rate of $50.00, a coinsurance percentage of 50 percent, a copayment amount of $25.00, and included services A, B, and C (see fig. 1). Hypothetical APC 2 had a payment rate of $65.00, a coinsurance percentage of 45 percent, a copayment amount of $29.25, and included services D, E, and F. Figure 1: Hypothetical APCs in 2002 For 2003, service D was reclassified to APC 1, and the payment rate of APC 1 increased to $60.00 through recalibration and application of the annual inflation adjustment (see fig. 2). Applying the 2002 methodology, the 2003 copayment amount should have remained $25.00 because this APC was not considered new, and the 2003 coinsurance percentage should have decreased to 42 percent. 16 According to the 2002 methodology, a new APC would be one that is either composed of new outpatient services or is created from some or all of the services from two or more existing APCs. (66 Fed. Reg. 59,856, 59,888 (2001).) 5 GAO-04-103R Medicare Hospital Outpatient Payments Figure 2: Update to the Copayment Amount for a Hypothetical APC with a Payment Rate Increase for 2003 If the 2002 Methodology Had Been Used However, because service D was reclassified to APC 1, CMS would have considered it a new APC under the 2003 methodology. Therefore, the 2003 coinsurance percentage for APC 1 would have been 45 percent, the lowest 2002 coinsurance percentage of all APCs contributing services to it, in this case, APC 1 and APC 2 (see fig. 3). However, the payment rate for APC 1 increased enough so that 45 percent of $60.00 ($27.00) is higher than the $25.00 the copayment should have been. Figure 3: Update to the Copayment Amount for a Hypothetical APC with a Payment Rate Increase for 2003 Using the 2003 Methodology 6 GAO-04-103R Medicare Hospital Outpatient Payments Example 2: Demonstration of How the 2003 CMS Copayment Methodology Led to Inaccurately Low 2003 Beneficiary Copayment Amounts This example uses the same hypothetical APC 1 and APC 2 as presented in figure 1. For 2003, service D was again reclassified to APC 1; however, in this example, the payment rate of APC 1 decreased to $45.00 in 2003 (see fig. 4). Applying the 2002 methodology, the 2003 coinsurance percentage of APC 1 should have remained 50 percent, because this APC was not considered new, and the 2003 copayment amount should have decreased to $22.50. Figure 4: Update to the Copayment Amount for a Hypothetical APC with a Payment Rate Decrease for 2003 If the 2002 Methodology Had Been Used However, under the 2003 methodology, CMS would have considered APC 1 a new APC. Because the 2002 coinsurance percentage of APC 2 (45 percent) was lower than the 2002 coinsurance percentage of APC 1 (50 percent), CMS would have used 45 percent to calculate the copayment amount for APC 1 (see fig. 5). In this example, because the payment rate for APC 1 decreased, the lower coinsurance percentage in conjunction with a lower payment rate would have resulted in a copayment amount of $20.25, instead of the $22.50 calculated using the 2002 methodology. 7 GAO-04-103R Medicare Hospital Outpatient Payments Figure 5: Update to the Copayment Amount for a Hypothetical APC with a Payment Rate Decrease for 2003 Using the 2003 Methodology In the proposed rule updating the OPPS payment rates for 2004, CMS stated that, effective with the 2004 payment rates, it would revise and clarify the copayment methodology. Our review of the proposed methodology indicates that it would be consistent with the statute because it would not allow copayment amounts to increase from year to year, and they would eventually decline to 20 percent of the APC payment rate. However, CMS did not recalculate the 2003 copayment amounts using the 2002 methodology before using them as the basis for calculating the 2004 copayment amounts. Thus, certain 2004 copayment amounts are higher, and others are lower, than they would have been if CMS had consistently applied the 2002 methodology, and the time it will take for the copayment amounts for some of these APCs to reach 20 percent of the APC payment rate will increase. 2003 Copayment Methodology Results in Inaccurate Beneficiary Copayments and Medicare Payments We estimate that in 2003, the copayment methodology used by CMS will result in about $414 million in inaccurate copayments, with a net of $192 million in Medicare program overpayments. More specifically, we estimate that beneficiaries will be overcharged by approximately $111 million for certain services. Beneficiaries will be undercharged for other services, and therefore we estimate that Medicare will overpay by approximately $303 million for these other services. The exact amounts will depend on the actual number of services provided in the affected APCs in 2003. For some APCs, the beneficiary is being overcharged. APC 0291, Level II Diagnostic Nuclear Medicine Excluding Myocardial Scans, is an example of an APC for which the beneficiary is responsible for paying a higher copayment as a result of the 2003 copayment methodology. We determined that the 2003 copayment for this APC is more than $14 higher than it would have been had the 2002 methodology been used. Multiplying that amount by the total number of 2001 claims for this APC results in an 8 GAO-04-103R Medicare Hospital Outpatient Payments estimated $1.7 million in beneficiary overcharges for 2003. For the APCs for which beneficiaries were overcharged, we estimate that the sum of those overcharges is approximately $111 million. For the majority of the miscalculated APCs, however, Medicare is overpaying. For example, for APC 0110, Transfusion, we determined that the 2003 copayment amount for this APC was $46 lower than it would have been had the 2002 methodology been used and, therefore, the Medicare payment portion was that much higher. Multiplying that amount by the total number of 2001 claims for this APC results in an estimated $15.2 million in Medicare overpayments for 2003. Summing the Medicare overpayments of all APCs for which beneficiaries were undercharged results in an estimated total of approximately $303 million. Conclusions The methodology that CMS used to calculate beneficiary copayment amounts in 2003 is inconsistent with (1) the methodology published by CMS in its final rule setting forth the 2002 OPPS payment rates and (2) the statutory objective of steadily decreasing all copayment amounts until they are 20 percent of the total payment rate for each service. Though CMS has proposed clarifications to its methodology for 2004, there are reasons for concern. First, some beneficiaries continue to be inaccurately charged and Medicare continues to overpay for certain outpatient hospital services delivered in 2003. In addition, although CMS has proposed a methodology for 2004 and later years that would not increase copayment amounts for an APC from one year to the next and that would eventually decrease copayment amounts to 20 percent of the payment rate, CMS would be using the miscalculated 2003 copayment amounts as the basis for these and future copayment amounts. Finally, the time it will take for the copayment amounts for certain APCs to reach 20 percent of the APC payment rate will increase. Recommendations for Executive Action For the purpose of calculating the 2004 OPPS beneficiary copayment amounts, we recommend that the Administrator of CMS first apply the 2002 copayment methodology to the 2003 APCs for which beneficiaries were inaccurately charged. The 2004 copayment amounts should then be based on these revised 2003 copayment amounts. Agency Comments In written comments on a draft of this report, CMS stated that in 2003 it treated reconfigured APCs as if they were new APCs. CMS also stated that in the 2004 OPPS proposed rule, it proposed to change the method of copayment calculation to treat reconfigured APCs in the same manner as recalibrated APCs, consistent with the methodology that we stated should have been used in 2003. However, CMS noted 9 GAO-04-103R Medicare Hospital Outpatient Payments that it did not propose to recalculate the 2003 copayments, which must be used in part as the basis for the calculation of the 2004 OPPS copayments. In its comments, CMS stated that it would carefully consider the information we provided to it as part of issuing its final rule. CMS’s comments about its methodology are generally consistent with the information in our draft report. We believe that CMS should apply the 2002 copayment methodology to the 2003 copayment amounts before calculating the 2004 copayment amounts to ensure that they are accurate. CMS’s comments appear in Enclosure III. We are sending copies of this report to interested congressional committees. We will also make copies available to others upon request. In addition, the report will be available at no charge on the GAO Web site at http://www.gao.gov. If you or your staff have questions, please contact me at (202) 512-7119. Another contact and key contributors to this report appear in Enclosure IV. Sincerely yours, A. Bruce Steinwald Director, Heath Care—Economic and Payment Issues Enclosures—4 10 GAO-04-103R Medicare Hospital Outpatient Payments Enclosure I Enclosure I Scope and Methodology We obtained the 2001 Medicare outpatient prospective payment system (OPPS) claims data, the latest data available, directly from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).17 We used these claims data together with the 569 ambulatory payment classification (APC) groups in 2003 and the published 2003 OPPS copayment amounts to estimate the impact of the 2003 copayment methodology on copayment amounts. We calculated the 2003 copayment amount for each of the APCs using the 2002 methodology and calculated the difference between that amount and the published 2003 copayment amount. The copayment amounts we analyzed were those published in the final rules setting both the 2002 and 2003 payment rates. We did not take wage index adjustments into account, and thus our estimates are based on national APC payment rates. We determined that 75 APCs had inaccurate copayment amounts in 2003; however, 6 of these 75 APCs are not included in our financial impact estimate because, while they existed in 2002, they did not exist in 2001 and were not in the 2001 Medicare claims data. We multiplied the difference between the two 2003 copayment amounts by the frequency of each APC in the 2001 Medicare hospital outpatient claims data and summed the beneficiary overcharges for the affected APCs. We then summed the beneficiary undercharges (Medicare overpayments) for the other affected APCs. We applied the CMS rule that payment rates and copayment amounts for certain APCs are discounted by a factor of 50 percent when these services are performed more than once or with certain other procedures during a single operative session by using the discounted rates as appropriate in our analysis when these APCs appeared in the claims data. 17 The 2001 outpatient claims data file contains all final action outpatient claims for services furnished on or after April 1, 2001 and on or before March 31, 2002. As it is the file that CMS used to set the 2003 OPPS payment rates, we consider it reliable for the purpose of our estimate, which is to count the frequency with which outpatient services were performed. 11 GAO-04-103R Medicare Hospital Outpatient Payments Enclosure II Enclosure II List of APCs for Which Beneficiaries Are Overcharged or Medicare Overpays for 2003 Services Table 1: List of APCs for Which Beneficiaries Are Overcharged for 2003 Services APC Title 0010 Level I Destruction of Lesion 0012 Level I Debridement & Destruction 0022 Level IV Excision/Biopsy 0025 Level II Skin Repair 0035 Placement of Arterial or Central Venous Catheter 0148 Level I Anal/Rectal Procedure 0155 Level II Anal/Rectal Procedure 0156 Level II Urinary and Anal Procedures 0164 Level I Urinary and Anal Procedures 0192 Level IV Female Reproductive Procedures 0214 Electroencephalogram 0216 Level III Nerve and Muscle Tests 0230 Level I Eye Tests & Treatments 0231 Level III Eye Tests & Treatments 0232 Level I Anterior Segment Eye Procedures 0234 Level III Anterior Segment Eye Procedures 0247 Laser Eye Procedures Except Retinal 0248 Laser Retinal Procedures 0254 Level IV ENT Procedures 0260 Level I Plain Film Except Teeth 0265 Level I Diagnostic Ultrasound Except Vascular 0266 Level II Diagnostic Ultrasound Except Vascular 0286 Myocardial Scans 0290 Level I Diagnostic Nuclear Medicine Excluding Myocardial Scans 0291 Level II Diagnostic Nuclear Medicine Excluding Myocardial Scans 0343 Level II Pathology 0344 Level III Pathology 0360 Level I Alimentary Tests Source: CMS. Note: GAO analysis of 2003 OPPS copayment rates and 2002 OPPS final rule. 12 GAO-04-103R Medicare Hospital Outpatient Payments Enclosure II Enclosure II Table 2: List of APCs for Which Medicare Overpays for 2003 Services APC Title 0002 Fine Needle Biopsy/Aspiration 0003 Bone Marrow Biopsy/Aspiration 0006 Level I Incision & Drainage 0015 Level III Debridement & Destruction 0021 Level III Excision/Biopsy 0041 Level I Arthroscopy 0045 Bone/Joint Manipulation Under Anesthesia 0049 Level I Musculoskeletal Procedures Except Hand and Foot 0050 Level II Musculoskeletal Procedures Except Hand and Foot 0051 Level III Musculoskeletal Procedures Except Hand and Foot 0052 Level IV Musculoskeletal Procedures Except Hand and Foot 0054 Level II Hand Musculoskeletal Procedures 0058 Level I Strapping and Cast Application 0070 Thoracentesis/Lavage Procedures 0072 Level II Endoscopy Upper Airway 0081 Non-coronary Angioplasty or Atherectomy 0083 Coronary Angioplasty and Percutaneous Valvuloplasty 0084 Level I Electrophysiologic Evaluation 0090 Insertion/Replacement of Pacemaker Pulse Generator 0099 Electrocardiograms 0110 Transfusion 0113 Excision Lymphatic System 0114 Thyroid/Lymphadenectomy Procedures 0115 Cannula/Access Device Procedures 0141 Upper GI Procedures 0147 Level II Sigmoidoscopy 0153 Peritoneal and Abdominal Procedures 0162 Level III Cystourethroscopy and other Genitourinary Procedures 0163 Level IV Cystourethroscopy and other Genitourinary Procedures 0182 Insertion of Penile Prosthesis 0183 Testes/Epididymis Procedures 0218 Level II Nerve and Muscle Tests 0220 Level I Nerve Procedures 0251 Level I ENT Procedures 0253 Level III ENT Procedures 0256 Level V ENT Procedures 0261 Level II Plain Film Except Teeth Including Bone Density Measurement 0263 Level I Miscellaneous Radiology Procedures 0264 Level II Miscellaneous Radiology Procedures 0288 Bone Density: Axial Skeleton 0292 Level III Diagnostic Nuclear Medicine Excluding Myocardial Scans 0300 Level I Radiation Therapy 0340 Minor Ancillary Procedures 0345 Level I Transfusion Laboratory Procedures 0346 Level II Transfusion Laboratory Procedures 0368 Level II Pulmonary Tests 0689 Electronic Analysis of Cardioverter-defibrillators Source: CMS. Note: GAO analysis of 2003 OPPS copayment rates and 2002 OPPS final rule. 13 GAO-04-103R Medicare Hospital Outpatient Payments Enclosure III Enclosure III Comments from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services 14 GAO-04-103R Medicare Hospital Outpatient Payments Enclosure III Enclosure III 15 GAO-04-103R Medicare Hospital Outpatient Payments Enclosure IV Enclosure IV GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments GAO Contact Nancy A. Edwards, (202) 512-3340 Acknowledgments Beth Cameron Feldpush, Joanna L. Hiatt, Maria Martino, and Jonathan Sclarsic made major contributions to this report. (290326) 16 GAO-04-103R Medicare Hospital Outpatient Payments This is a work of the U.S. government and is not subject to copyright protection in the United States. It may be reproduced and distributed in its entirety without further permission from GAO. However, because this work may contain copyrighted images or other material, permission from the copyright holder may be necessary if you wish to reproduce this material separately. The General Accounting Office, the audit, evaluation and investigative arm of GAO’s Mission Congress, exists to support Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities and to help improve the performance and accountability of the federal government for the American people. GAO examines the use of public funds; evaluates federal programs and policies; and provides analyses, recommendations, and other assistance to help Congress make informed oversight, policy, and funding decisions. GAO’s commitment to good government is reflected in its core values of accountability, integrity, and reliability. The fastest and easiest way to obtain copies of GAO documents at no cost is Obtaining Copies of through the Internet. GAO’s Web site (www.gao.gov) contains abstracts and full- GAO Reports and text files of current reports and testimony and an expanding archive of older products. The Web site features a search engine to help you locate documents Testimony using key words and phrases. You can print these documents in their entirety, including charts and other graphics. Each day, GAO issues a list of newly released reports, testimony, and correspondence. GAO posts this list, known as “Today’s Reports,” on its Web site daily. The list contains links to the full-text document files. To have GAO e- mail this list to you every afternoon, go to www.gao.gov and select “Subscribe to e-mail alerts” under the “Order GAO Products” heading. Order by Mail or Phone The first copy of each printed report is free. Additional copies are $2 each. A check or money order should be made out to the Superintendent of Documents. GAO also accepts VISA and Mastercard. Orders for 100 or more copies mailed to a single address are discounted 25 percent. Orders should be sent to: U.S. General Accounting Office 441 G Street NW, Room LM Washington, D.C. 20548 To order by Phone: Voice: (202) 512-6000 TDD: (202) 512-2537 Fax: (202) 512-6061 Contact: To Report Fraud, Web site: www.gao.gov/fraudnet/fraudnet.htm Waste, and Abuse in E-mail: email@example.com Federal Programs Automated answering system: (800) 424-5454 or (202) 512-7470 Jeff Nelligan, Managing Director, NelliganJ@gao.gov (202) 512-4800 Public Affairs U.S. General Accounting Office, 441 G Street NW, Room 7149 Washington, D.C. 20548
Medicare: Discrepancy in Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System Methodology Leads to Inaccurate Beneficiary Copayments and Medicate Payments
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2003-10-06.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)