Medicare wasting millions by paying for hospice drugs twice, inspector general finds

Medicare has been paying for drugs used in hospices twice, wasting hundreds of millions of dollars each year, a new report from the Office of Inspector General found.

Medicare, under Part A, pays a hospice a lump sum for each day a patient is receiving care at the facility. That money is supposed to cover any medications used to ease pain or help someone's terminal illness. 

However, Part D was also paying for some of these prescription drugs, the report found.

In 2016, the OIG estimates that Part D paid $160.8 million for drugs that should have been paid for under the Medicare Part A hospice benefit.

"CMS must do more to avoid paying twice for the same drugs. As we have previously recommended, CMS should work directly with hospices to ensure that they are providing drugs covered under the hospice benefit," the OIG recommended. 

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