Recovery audits are an important part of the healthcare industry, enabling organizations to identify and fix instances of financial mismanagement. They are often used to prevent and detect fraud, improve payment accuracy, and ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Understanding how a recovery audit works can help healthcare providers manage their finances and reduce risk.
Moreover, a RAC tracker simplifies the recovery audit process by utilizing powerful analytics capabilities and intuitive data visualization tools. The ability to track and report on key performance metrics provides a comprehensive overview of financial activity for any organization.
This article will take care of everything you need to know about recovery audits in healthcare, from what they are to why they are used and how they work.
Table of Contents
What Is Recovery Auditing?
Payment recovery, profit recovery, and accounts payable audit are the same: an audit of a company’s financial transactions and the data and processes around them to discover and recoup any overpayments or underpayments made to vendors.
What Are The Types Of Recovery Audits?
Generally speaking, there are three main types of recovery audits: retail, non-retail, and healthcare.
Medicare RAC audits can be automated or complex, depending on the nature of the analyzed claims.
1. Automated Audits
These inspections, also called computerized evaluations, aim to find and flag any healthcare providers making false or exaggerated claims. Healthcare providers and insurers are monitored for compliance and correct billing and claims using their unique algorithms.
2. Complex Audits
On the other hand, medical records are used in complicated audits to check for errors in individual claims. They also address the issue of whether a given service is medically required and so insured.
The CMS uses contractors to detect fraudulent payments. The organization only compensates these independent contractors if they successfully collect money from the healthcare provider. Due to the nature of the business, Medicare RAC audit contractors are encouraged to take a tougher stance. Concerns have been voiced that the contractors’ methods may be excessively forceful.
From 9 cents to 12 cents, every dollar recovered by the CMS goes to the RAC auditors. This range varies from state to state. When an audit reveals an erroneously paid claim, it alerts the service provider instantly. This decision can, of course, be challenged by the suppliers.
What Is A Recovery Audit Contractor Program?
Through the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, the Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC) program was established to evaluate medical data to discover fraud, waste, and abuse and identify and recover incorrect Medicare payments made to healthcare providers. In order to process nationwide claims for DME and HHE, the RAC program splits the country into five areas.
The objective of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)-led RAC audits is to identify and fix incorrect payments by locating and recovering overpayments made on claims for healthcare services rendered to Medicare beneficiaries. Provider underpayments are also investigated so that CMS can take preventative measures to stop the practice in the future.
What Does A Recovery Audit Contractor Do?
Thanks to the RAC program, about $73 million was recouped from overpayments in 2018. The program has returned almost $10 billion to Medicare since 2009.
The RAC program is responsible for identifying and recovering incorrect payments in 16 distinct Medicare programs through a wide range of audit techniques (e.g., Inpatient Hospital, Outpatient Imaging). The majority of these claims result in overpayments made by the federal government to providers due to incorrect data submitted by institutions or providers for beneficiaries who received approved services.
There Are Two Parts To Any Audit Claim:
- Money that needs to be paid to service providers.
- A cost-recovery mechanism that enables auditing firms to repay some of their investment in performing audits of certain targets
Medicare Recovery Audit Contractors have the authority to investigate any medical service provider who files a claim with the government. RAC audits are ongoing investigations that can be set off by anything from a simple paperwork oversight to flagrant fraud. They are a coordinated set of activities that run simultaneously to guarantee that Medicare’s clinical payment criteria, documentation, and billing standards are met.
Key Benefits Of Recovery Auditing
1. Recovery Audits Can Significantly Increase Your Profitability
The primary advantage of recovery audits is that they boost cash flow and pure profits by pinpointing revenue loss.
2. Recovery Audits Can Enhance Operational Effectiveness
Recovery audits present a once-in-a-lifetime chance for businesses to improve their internal operations and become more proactive by addressing inefficiencies and stopping the leaking of money.
3. Recovery Audits May Uncover & Resolve Issues With Third Parties And Suppliers
Recovery audits provide a way for a business to address problems or disconnect with suppliers and guarantee contract compliance by acting as a check that ensures accuracy on all sides. As a result of taking this preventative measure, problems that could damage the working relationship in the future are avoided.
4. Recovery Audits Can Reduce The Likelihood Of Fraud
The recovery audit process identifies fraudulent activity in a company’s books, determines its main cause, fixes the problem, and stops it from happening again. Recovery audits, with their increased monitoring, make it much harder for financial fraud to occur.
5. Prevent Further Leakage & Faults
Recovery auditing has the ongoing benefit of exposing any loopholes in your financial procedures. Finding and fixing internal problems like late payments, broken contracts, and inaccurate data is a crucial step toward preventing such problems in the future.
A recovery audit in healthcare is a process that helps organizations identify and recover financial losses due to billing errors, fraudulent activities, or other incorrect payments. It is an essential part of maintaining accuracy and accountability within the healthcare system. After reading this article, you should have gained a basic understanding of what a recovery audit entails and its importance in ensuring successful financial operations for healthcare organizations.
The purpose of a recovery audit is to uncover potential recoverable costs that may have been lost due to billing mistakes or fraud. While it can be tedious and time-consuming, it is an invaluable tool for organizations looking to maintain their bottom line and protect against financial losses. Recovery audits also serve as an effective preventative measure by helping organizations spot discrepancies early on before they become too costly.