Cracking the Codes: Hospitals grab $1 billion in extra emergency room fees

Emergency room codes on top of photo of emergency room

When patients visit hospital emergency rooms, hospitals charge insurers one of five primary billing codes based on the sickness of the patient. This investigation examined two terabytes of hospital Medicare billing data and found that some hospitals always charge the highest-level billing code, as if every patient who walked through their door was dying. As a result, Medicare paid out more than $1 billion to hospitals that they didn’t deserve. The data for this investigation was acquired through a lawsuit by the Center for Public Integrity against Medicare’s administrator.

Read it here.

(Photo: Center for Public Integrity)