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GovWatch: Healthcare company accused of overbilling for stockings

In our last GovWatch column we wrote about how Medicare is reportedly overpaying for vacuum erection systems. Now it’s stockings.

The Ohio Attorney General and federal authorities last week announced fraud charges against the former office manager of a Cincinnati-area healthcare company accused of overcharging for compression stockings.

Beth Stein, 54, of Amelia, is believed to have caused more than $100,000 in excessive billings to Medicare, Medicaid and other healthcare benefit providers through the company Compass Healthcare, Inc.

“Deceiving Medicare, Medicaid and private health insurers by overbilling for services contributes to the rising costs of healthcare,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

According to the indictment, Stein billed for larger quantities of stockings than were delivered to patients, billed for higher quality stockings than were delivered and faked prescriptions from physicians to bill for higher-grade or custom stockings.

IRS even less helpful

Taxpayers are less likely to get help from the IRS — or get audited — as the federal tax agency struggles to implement new programs with less revenue, Politico recently reported.

The programs include the Affordable Care Act, a crackdown on offshore tax-dodgers and other new responsibilities, the news outlet reported.

“People show up at 3 or 4 in the morning because the lines (at assistance centers) are so long … they know they have to camp out,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told Politico.

“To have 18 million calls not go through, to have people have to stand in line for two or three hours at the crack of dawn to try to get into a taxpayer assistance center, that seems to be intolerable.”

FEC dings Ohio rep

U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth, received a $9,749 fine from the Federal Elections Commission this month for failing to promptly disclose a contribution of nearly $100,000 the candidate made to his campaign in 2012, according to a report in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

The FEC said he didn’t file a required disclosure form within 48 hours of receiving the $96,393.90 contribution. Renacci’s campaign told the Plain Dealer that it was a “minor administrative error” that had been resolved.

Rotten at the core

Samples of road paving taken from a state contract site and submitted by a contractor to the state as higher-grade pavement were actually taken from different locations than the contractor claimed, according to the Ohio Inspector General.

The OIG got to the core of the issue, so to speak, by having the Mansfield-area paving contractor take new samples in front of investigators, which were compared to previously submitted samples.

“A comparison between the two groups proved the original samples were, in fact, from pavement at a different location,” according to a release from the OIG.

Core sampling is used to grade the quality of pavement, and when tests of the samples indicate the pavement is substandard, the payment to the contractor is reduced.

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