Audit: State needs to better track costs for inmate health care
Posted February 27, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — A spot check of the largest hospitals bills North Carolina paid for prison health care between July 1, 2011, and June 30, 2012, found the state's prison system overpaid by 10 percent on more than $1 million worth of claims.
A report by the State Auditor released Wednesday showed the state paid $105,700 on 10 bills submitted by eight hospitals. The report does not disclose the names of the hospitals or the conditions of the inmates.
"The division did not previously identify these or any other over-billings because it does not perform externally focused recovery audits of hospital charges," the report says.
Auditors looked only at 10 of the largest hospital claims during the fiscal year. The report notes that the division paid a total of 893 hospital claims totaling about $14 million in costs.
The audit report recommends that the division contract with a professional audit firm to help spot and recover over payments.
In a response to the audit, the Division of Prisons agreed with the findings and noted that it has put out an "Request for Information" seeking potential auditors to perform the work.
This is not the first time over-billing related to prison health care has been the subject of an audit report. A 2010 audit found the prison system allowed hospitals and other medical providers to dictate the terms of contracts for inmate medical care, leading to a range of pricing.