Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Medicare Accounting Improved, US Government Financials Still a Mess

(see link to Accounting Web in title above). A new information system for Medicare has improved reimbursement reporting and generated about $9 million in interest revenue in seven months according to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The system, called Healthcare Integrated General Ledger Accounting System, is based on an Oracle product and is already being used by Mutual of Omaha and five of 40 other health plans which administer Medicare claims. Mark McClellan, Medicare Center administrator, says that he expects greater savings as more insurance plans use the new web-based system.

In less favorable news, the General Accountability Office has disclaimed an opinion on the Federal Government's financials for the NINTH straight year. Contributing to the inability of GAO to form an opinion were internal control weaknesses, financial management shortcomings in Defense, inability to reconcile transactions between government agencies and an ineffective process for combining the fiscal results of the various agencies, bureaus and departments into results for the whole of the U.S. government.

Congratulations to Medicare on their improved reporting; the rising costs of health care are such that any increase in billing efficiency helps. On the other hand, how can we continue to call for more government programs and more regulation when the government cannot account for what it does at present?


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