Health care for the dead

The news: A state legislative audit of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (headed by Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, pictured above) found as much as $2.5 million in Medicaid payments for people who had died.

Our take: This doesn't suggest fraud, or even necessarily that all of the payments were improper -- sometimes bills come in after a patient has died. But it does point to the usefulness of using the Social Security administration's databases to cross-check deaths with the state Medicaid rolls, something the department says it had already been considering.

The news: A state legislative audit of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (headed by Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, pictured above) found as much as $2.5 million in Medicaid payments for people who had died. Our take: This doesn't suggest fraud, or even necessarily that all of the payments were improper -- sometimes bills come in after a patient has died. But it does point to the usefulness of using the Social Security administration's databases to cross-check deaths with the state Medicaid rolls, something the department says it had already been considering.

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