Pass-through billing schemes

Healthleaders Media” recently reported on a case involving pass-through billing in Florida which highlights how such schemes can grow if undetected during regular claims reviews.

The case involved the owner of a substance abuse treatment facility who sent his patients’ urine samples to a lab that returned 40% of the insurance reimbursements to the owner. He then arranged with the managers of two rural hospitals in Florida to have the testing billed to private insurers at a higher reimbursement under the hospitals’ in-network contracts.

The scheme expanded to include rural hospitals in Georgia, and more drug rehab centers, resulting in laundering more than $57 million in illicit reimbursements.

Rural hospitals, often due to declining revenue, have been repeatedly identified in fraudulent and abusive billing schemes intended to increase revenue. Vigilance by those processing claim payments is required to prevent wasted dollars from being spent. SmartLight has identified multiple schemes involving suspect patterns of urine drug tests and pass-through billing.

Rural hospitals involved in pass-through billing to maximize reimbursements from claims administrators is a growing problem. SmartLight has identified over 7 hospitals in Texas and neighboring states involved in this abusive billing scheme in 2019. Analysis of claims data using inferential methods can quickly identify these suspect claims in an employer’s healthcare claims population.