Data mistakes almost cost Iowa Medicaid millions


July 5th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – A federal report says data entry errors nearly caused the Iowa Medicaid program to overpay doctors by $9.2 million, but the mistakes were caught before the checks were cashed. An audit by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services made public last week says the mistakes in 2009 involved employees who copied and pasted the wrong numbers into the amount to pay. The errors resulted in two doctors receiving checks for $9.2 million more than they should have for the procedures they performed.

The audit says the state was fortunate to catch the mistakes and cancel the payments following a special review of old checks that had not been cashed. Iowa Medicaid officials say they’ve prohibited employees from using the “copy and paste” function during data entry.