Erroneous government payments to senior living operators and other health-related organizations are approaching $100 billion a year, a new federal report alleges.

In fact, dubious funding to assisted living communities, nursing homes, hospitals and other healthcare providers likely exceeded $96 billion last year, according to an Office of Inspector General report.

Why do fraud and abuse continue to escalate? Analysts identified internal problems related to data integrity and information security as contributing factors. Specifically, the Department of Health and Human Services struggles to harness data-gathering capabilities in ways that ensure improper payments are avoided, auditors concluded.

Additional challenges facing HHS include enhancing safety, care quality and operational efficiency. Every six months, the IOG releases reports updating its efforts to unearth notable problems, abuses, deficiencies and possible remedies. Annual outlays for Medicare and Medicaid now exceed $1 trillion, according to the department.