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Review of Medicare Part B Urine Drug Testing Services

Medicare covers treatment services for substance use disorders (SUDs), such as inpatient and outpatient services when they are reasonable and necessary. SUDs occur when the recurrent use of alcohol or other drugs causes clinically significant impairment, including health problems, disability, and failure to meet major responsibilities at work, school, or home. Medicare also covers clinical laboratory services, including urine drug testing (UDT), under Part B. Physicians use UDT to detect the presence or absence of drugs or to identify specific drugs in urine samples. A patient in active treatment for an SUD or being monitored during different phases of recovery from an SUD may undergo medical management for a variety of medical conditions. UDT results influence treatment and level-of-care decisions for individuals with SUDs. The 2018 Medicare fee-for-service improper payment data showed that laboratory testing, including UDT, had an improper payment rate of almost 30 percent, and that the overpayment rate for definitive drug testing for 22 or more drug classes was 71.7 percent. We will review UDT services for Medicare beneficiaries with SUD-related diagnoses to determine whether those services were allowable in accordance with Medicare requirements.

Announced or Revised Agency Title Component Report Number(s) Expected Issue Date (FY)
Completed (partial) Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Review of Medicare Part B Urine Drug Testing Services Office of Audit Services A-09-20-03017;