State Medicaid programs spent $266 million on diapers, pads

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State Medicaid fee-for-service programs spent $266 million on nine specific types of disposable incontinence supplies or diapers and liners in 2012, according to a new report.

The report released Monday by the Department of Health and Human Services inspector general focused on the effectiveness of state programs’ cost control mechanisms. According to the document, many state legislatures have passed laws looking to reduce the cost to government of incontinence supplies and services.

Indeed, there have been a couple fraud cases in recent years dealing specifically with incontinence supplies, including in 2013 when a Maryland supplier plead guilty to collecting reimbursement for over $200,000 in incontinence supplies that were never delivered. And in 2012, another supplier plead guilty to submitting $45,000 in claims to the District of Columbia Medicaid program for similar products that were also never delivered.

According to the inspector general, all State Medicaid programs have established some kind of cost control measures for these type of products.

“Five State Medicaid programs implemented competitive bidding programs. These programs reported savings of up to 50 percent,” the report reads. “If State Medicaid programs had paid suppliers at the median competitive bidding rate, they could have paid 23 percent less, saving $62 million.”

“Other positive outcomes resulted from competitive bidding, such as increased beneficiary access to supplies, increased product quality, and State Medicaid program control of providing supplies,” the report continues. “However, States reported encountering initial challenges with their competitive bidding programs, and six States attempted to establish competitive bidding but did not fully implement it.”

The inspector general recommended that State Medicaid programs continue to look for additional cost savings for these types of supplies. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services agreed with the recommendation.

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Tags : medicaid
Caroline May