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Trend Analysis of Medicare Laboratory Billing for Potential Fraud and Abuse With COVID-19 Add-on Testing

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has led to an unprecedented demand for diagnostic laboratory testing to determine whether an individual has the virus. Beyond the COVID-19 tests, laboratories can also perform add-on tests, for example to confirm or rule out diagnosis other than COVID-19. However, OIG has program integrity concerns related to add-on tests in conjuction with COVID-19 testing, particularly related to potentially fraudulent billing for associated respiratory pathogen panel (RPP) tests, allergy tests, or genetic tests. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has relaxed rules related to COVID-19 testing and other associated diagnostic laboratory testing to no longer require an order from the treating physician or nonphysician practitioner (NPP) during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Relaxation of the physician ordering/NPP rules could allow unscrupulous actors more leeway for fraudulent billing of unnecessary add-on testing. This study will examine Medicare claims data for laboratory testing to identify trends in the use of RPP, allergy, and genetic testing and identify patterns of billing by laboratories that may indicate fraud and abuse.

Announced or Revised Agency Title Component Report Number(s) Expected Issue Date (FY)
June 2020 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Trend Analysis of Medicare Laboratory Billing for Potential Fraud and Abuse With COVID-19 Add-on Testing Office of Evaluation and Inspections OEI-09-20-00510 2021