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American Academy of Emergency Medicine

Individual Responsibility for Honest Billings

The following excerpt from the OIG compliance guideline for small physician practices of June 12, 2000 should make it clear that emergency physicians who practice in environments where they cannot see what is billed in their name are taking a considerable risk.

"Physicians should remember that they remain responsible to the Medicare program for bills sent in the physician's name or containing the physician's signature, even if the physician had no actual knowledge of a billing impropriety. The attestation on the HCFA 1500 form, i.e., the physician's signature line, states that the physician's services were billed properly. In other words, it is no defense for the physician if the physician's billing service improperly bills Medicare."

[Federal Register: June 12, 2000 (volume 65, Number 113)]