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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Medicare Compliance for Clinical Laboratories. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Case Study 4

A client service representative receives a call from a major laboratory client. The client is requesting the laboratory to write off the charges for a test that the office person ordered by mistake, even though the laboratory has already done the test and reported the results back to the office. Since this service representative works with this office frequently, she believes that this is a rare request. Actions that the client service representative may take are:
Correct Answers:
Refuse to write off the charges for the test and inform the client that it could be considered an inducement if the laboratory does that, which would make both the laboratory and the office liable should it ever come to light. Offer whatever billing options are available according to lab policies.
Refuse to write off the charges and explain to the client that approval must be obtained from the department manager or the laboratory compliance officer before any action can be taken because writing the test off could be considered an inducement.
Discussion: Tests should never be written off by the laboratory automatically. There should always be an approval process involved or a policy that strictly forbids any write off except in the case of an error on the part of the laboratory where documentation exists to support it.