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Medicare providers complain of duplicative audits, claim they aren't reducing fraud

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MIAMI — Health care companies say they're losing millions of dollars that are tied up in appeals because of increasing numbers of Medicare audits. But a new report says the rise in the often duplicative audits has failed to reduce Medicare fraud.

A report released Wednesday by the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging reveals Medicare fraud in the fee-for-service program has steadily declined since 2009. But improper payments rose between from $30 billion to $36 billion between 2011 and 2012, according to the report that cites the most recent data available.

Around that same time, officials started using a $77 million technology screening system designed to fight fraud the way credit card companies scan charges and can freeze accounts.

Health care companies and other stakeholder are meeting with committee chairman Sen. Bill Nelson on Wednesday to discuss what they call burdensome audits and reviews.

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