NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A federal audit estimates Tennessee’s Medicaid program overpaid managed care organizations by $2.7 million over seven years for patients who were already dead.

A December audit by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services inspector general says TennCare should recover the money and return a $1.8 million federal share.

TennCare Deputy Commissioner Wendy Long responded that the state has recouped a significant portion of the money through a software change, will recover the rest and will return the federal share. She said TennCare is working to understand why its death list differed from what auditors had.

TennCare spokeswoman Sarah Tanksley said the cases represent a small number of unique circumstances worth about $130,000 each year. She says TennCare paid $30 billion-plus to managed care organizations in that timeframe.