Senators: Ramp Up Fraud Prevention

Medicare, Medicaid Waste Cutting Targeted
Senators: Ramp Up Fraud Prevention
With the spotlight on federal budget cutting, two Republican senators are pressing the acting head of the Medicare and Medicaid programs to start outlining her anti-fraud efforts aimed at eliminating waste.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., on Jan. 9 sent a letter to Marilyn Tavenner, acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, urging her to step up fraud prevention. President Obama recently nominated Tavenner to succeed Donald Berwick, M.D., who resigned as head of CMS under political pressure from Congress. Congress has yet to approve Tavenner's appointment.

In the letter, the two senators ask Tavenner to spell out what unimplemented anti-fraud recommendations from the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Inspector General, as well as the Government Accountability Office, CMS plans to implement and when.

The senators also inquire about CMS' use of Google Earth as a fraud-fighting tool. They suggest, for example, that investigators use Google Earth to match Medicare and Medicaid billing numbers and addresses against actual physical locations before sending payments "to prevent fake shell companies from bilking the program."

In making the case for ramping up anti-fraud efforts, the senators note: "Because approximately one in three Americans receives health coverage through Medicare or Medicaid, and because these programs are notorious for being plagued with vulnerabilities, we believe taxpayers lose tens of billions of dollars each year in federal government health programs."

About the Author

Howard Anderson

Howard Anderson

Former News Editor, ISMG

Anderson was news editor of Information Security Media Group and founding editor of HealthcareInfoSecurity and DataBreachToday. He has more than 40 years of journalism experience, with a focus on healthcare information technology issues. Before launching HealthcareInfoSecurity, he served as founding editor of Health Data Management magazine, where he worked for 17 years, and he served in leadership roles at several other healthcare magazines and newspapers.

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