Inspector general sets agenda for 2007 investigations

HHS' inspector general's office will look at the CMS' oversight of patient safety and quality of care at specialty hospitals for the first time ever in fiscal 2007, as well as examine payments for diagnostic X-rays in emergency rooms and admissions to long-term acute-care hospitals. The new areas of inquiry join ongoing interests in rehabilitation and critical-access hospitals, outpatient department outliers, and unbundling of hospital services, according to the agency's work plan. The 93-page plan outlines the inspector general's investigational priorities for fiscal 2007 beginning Oct. 1. Often new areas of interest reflect trends in whistle-blower lawsuits, growth in healthcare spending, audits by the agency or congressional investigation mandates. According to the plan, admissions from acute-care hospitals to long-term acute-care hospitals have grown rapidly. Read the plan. -- by Mark Taylor

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