Office of the Inspector General (OIG) Posts Report, Medicare Payments for Facet Joint Injection Services

Chicago — (August 23, 2008) 

On September 17, 2008, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) posted a report (OEI-05-07-00200) entitled, “Medicare Payments for Facet Joint Injection Services.” The most significant finding stated in the report is that an estimated 63% of facet joint injection services allowed by Medicare in 2006 did not meet Medicare program requirements, which resulted in approximately $96 million in improper payments. Medicare payments for facets have more than doubled between 2003 and 2006. The OIG based these estimates on evaluation of 646 claims for correct coding and medical necessity. The claims error rate for facet injections is much higher than reported for most Medicare services. This report will serve as the topic of the upcoming December Practice Management column.

In the meantime, you can access the full report.

If you have any comments or feedback on the report, please feel free to email Jason Byrd at


Founded in 1905, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is an educational, research and scientific society with more than 52,000 members organized to raise and maintain the standards of the medical practice of anesthesiology. ASA is committed to ensuring physician anesthesiologists evaluate and supervise the medical care of patients before, during and after surgery to provide the highest quality and safest care every patient deserves.

For more information on the field of anesthesiology, visit the American Society of Anesthesiologists online at To learn more about the role physician anesthesiologists play in ensuring patient safety, visit Join the ANESTHESIOLOGYTM 2014 social conversation today. Like ASA on Facebook, follow ASALifeline on Twitter and use the hashtag #ANES2014.



American Society of Anesthesiologists