October 13, 2017

Wronged by Medicare? A Doctor’s Story

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CMS has accused Bryan Merrick, MD of wrongful Medicare billings on 10 patients over a span of 20 months.

Bryan Merrick, MD, a physician at the Tennessee-based McKenzie Medical Center who has been practicing medicine for more than three decades, will be a central topic of conversation during the next edition of Monitor Mondays, as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has pulled his Medicare billing privileges due to what have been described as simple clerical errors.  

The broadcast will take place at 10 a.m. ET on Monday, Oct. 16.

Dr. Merrick has said that CMS revoked his Medicare billing privileges for three years in April. He claims he was dropped from the Medicare program because he billed Medicare for 10 patients he didn't see.

However, he argues that the billing mistakes were errors. For example, he said in one case, a staff member mixed up two patients with identical names.

"I didn't do anything personally wrong, professionally wrong, or unethical," Dr. Merrick told WBBJ.

He said CMS is questioning a total of $670 in services billed over a 20-month period. The federal government reviewed 30,000 claims submitted by Dr. Merrick, and only 30 billings for 10 patients were identified as improper, less than one-tenth of 1 percent.

Dr. Merrick appealed the CMS decision, but his appeal was denied in August. He plans to take his case before an administrative law judge, but there is not a set timeline for that process, according to The Jackson Sun. He has also enlisted the help of former Tennessee State Sen. Roy Herron, an attorney for Dr. Merrick, who is asking U.S. Rep. David Kustoff (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) to review the case.

“The local hospital has lost its only internist and the local nursing home has lost its medical director,” Herron said.  “The medically underserved region is in danger of being even more desperately underserved.  And thousands of patients will soon be at risk when they are without their long-time physician.”

"This is the worst and most egregious abuse of an individual by government that I have seen in over a quarter-century of dealing with the government," Herron added.

Herron will appear on Monitor Mondays to discuss the case. 

Mark Spivey

Mark Spivey is a national correspondent for RACmonitor and ICD10monitor who has been editing and writing reports for the websites for eight years.

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