Mileage reimbursement involves sizable sums of money, thus is a significant opportunity for fraud. Most companies don’t feel that fraud, as it happens bit by bit over long periods. Home health care organizations that get reimbursements through Medicare are different in that they can be slapped with huge judgments over mileage misconduct. That makes it even more vital that they have a mileage reimbursement solution that protects them while reimbursing employees quickly and fairly.
Several years ago in Houston, the Justice Department prosecuted a lab services company over misrepresentations of distances traveled by its technicians. And In East Texas, the FBI went after a small lab services company after an employee tipped them the company was submitting inflated claims for mileage driven by employees. The mom-and-pop shop was ordered to repay $3.75 million to the government and its owners faced prison time. Years earlier in Florida, fictitious mileage claims were part of a scheme that resulted in a $1.4 million judgment. And while these are cases of employer, rather than employee, fraud, they certainly demonstrate that mileage reimbursement is on the government’s radar.
Assistant Attorney General Tony West said of the Houston case, “There’s no question that health care providers are entitled to recover their reasonable costs for services they actually deliver, but we have zero patience for those who invent or inflate Medicare reimbursement claims.”
What can a home health care organization do to protect itself financially and preserve the integrity of its reimbursement claims? Here are five recommendations:
- Create an effective mileage reimbursement policy detailing what the company will pay for and what it won’t as well the penalties for failing to follow the policy.
- Separate the processes of mileage reimbursement and employee compensation.
- Implement a review process that examines not only the expense claimed but its accuracy and adherence to the reimbursement policies.
- Conduct periodic reviews and audits for compliance.
- Automate the reimbursement process to improve mileage verification.
But that’s just the start. To truly address mileage reimbursement fraud, companies have to move away from the flawed practice of basing reimbursement claims on odometer readings. Rather than verifying miles driven, they should be calculating the mileage expense to be reimbursed and be able to do that before the trip is ever made.
SureMileage by CompanyMileage does this and more. With it, employees report their starting point and destination and the system calculates the driving distance between them. Automated mileage tracking virtually eliminates the inflated estimates commonly seen in traditional odometer readings. Point-to-point reimbursement also eliminates side trips from the reimbursement equation.
SureMileage helps hundreds of organizations save 20 percent to 30 percent on mileage costs. Its automated mileage tracking virtually eliminates the inflated estimates commonly seen with odometer readings. Home health care organizations get those savings as well as reassurance that their reputations for honesty are being protected. It’s no wonder that right now, thousands of home health care providers are using SureMileage.