OIG tags Arizona hospital for inaccurate wage data

St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix failed to comply with Medicare requirements when reporting wage data used by CMS for the fiscal year 2019 wage index calculation, according to a report from HHS' Office of Inspector General.

The hospital, part of San Francisco-based Dignity Health, overstated its wage-related costs by $12.3 million, according to the OIG. The OIG shared its findings and suggested corrections with the hospital's Medicare administrative contractor and CMS, and the corrections were made. If the corrections had not been made, the inaccurate wage data would have raised the rural wage index in Arizona, which would have resulted in overpayments for inpatient stays at 54 hospitals in the state.

Based on its findings, the OIG recommended St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center ensure all personnel involved in the process are trained to comply with Medicare wage data reporting, implement more effective quality controls over the entry of contract labor data into its accounting system and review all software scripts and manual procedures annually to ensure compliance with Medicare wage data reporting requirements.

In written comments on the draft report, the hospital concurred with the OIG's findings and recommendations and described steps it has taken to ensure cost reports comply with Medicare requirements.

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