Massage Therapists, Chiropractors Wrote Drug Prescriptions They Shouldn’t Have—and Medicare Paid

Contractors ordered 2,872 prescriptions; these individuals complete home repairs or modifications to accommodate a health condition, such as wheelchair ramps. Others who ordered prescriptions paid by Part D included personal care providers (e.g., home health aides, chore providers, and companions), interpreters, transportation companies (e.g., taxis, private vehicles, and drivers), lodging companies, and veterinarians. An in-depth analysis of 10 States revealed that Part D inappropriately paid for 344,714 prescriptions ordered by other selected types that did not have the authority to prescribe. In total, Medicare paid $26.2 million for drugs ordered by counselors, chiropractors, social workers, physical therapists, and speech-language pathologists. Our review of State laws found that these prescriber types did not have the authority to prescribe drugs in any of the 10 States. [C]ounselors ordered 87,400 prescriptions, the most of the prescriber types reviewed in the 10 States. Counselors include such professions as marriage and family therapists. Chiropractors were next, with 70,681 prescriptions, folllowed by social workers, with 69,075 prescriptions. The inappropriate payments could signal that prescriber-ID numbers had been stolen, both Carper and the IG report hinted.
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