An Illinois Ob-Gyn Billed Medicare for 10,399 Group Psychotherapy Sessions in 2012

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
July 14 2014 4:11 PM

An Illinois Ob-Gyn Billed Medicare for 10,399 Group Psychotherapy Sessions in 2012

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Here is a bizarre story courtesy of the Chicago Tribune and ProPublica's Charles Ornstein: In 2012, Illinois medical providers billed Medicare for more than 290,000 group psychotherapy sessions—more than twice as many sessions than were billed in any other state. Four specific doctors—none of whom specialize in psychiatry—billed 37,864 sessions, which is more than the number of group psychotherapy sessions that were billed in 2012 in the entire state of California.

Of the Illinois OB-GYNs billing for group psychotherapy, Dr. Josephine Kamper had the highest number of sessions. She was paid for 10,399 sessions in 2012, at a cost to Medicare of $207,980.

That's just under 30 sessions a day.

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To clarify: it seems that group therapy is billed on a per-patient basis, rather than a per-session basis—i.e. Kamper was claiming to have provided therapy for 30 individuals per day, not claiming to have run 30 different groups per day. And under Medicare rules, any doctor can conduct group psychotherapy sessions, (psychiatric training is a standard part of medical school). That said: this is all still very suspicious.

Ben Mathis-Lilley edits the Slatest. Follow @Slatest on Twitter.

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