Going After Medicare Fraudby Denise Early on May. 17, 2010, under Health
The government stepped up the fight against Medicare fraud in 2009 with 77 people going to prison and $2.5 billion recovered for the Medicare Trust fund. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced these results and described expanded efforts to fight fraud in the Medicare system.
Medicare Fraud Strike Force teams, which are joint operations between the Department of Justice, Health and Human Services and state and local partners, have been expanded to seven communities with high levels of health care fraud: South Florida; Los Angeles; Houston; Detroit; Brooklyn, N.Y.; and Baton Rouge, La.
During Fiscal Year (FY) 2009, the federal government won or negotiated approximately $1.63 billion in judgments and settlements according to HHS.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) established a national Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control Program (HCFAC) which was charged with investigating and prosecuting Medicare fraud. According to HHS, some of their recent accomplishments include:
- Deposits to the Medicare Trust Fund totaled approximately $2.51 billion in FY 2009 as a result of these efforts, a $569 million, or 29 percent, increase over FY 2008.
- In addition, more than $441 million in federal Medicaid money was transferred separately to the U.S. Treasury – 28 percent more than in FY 2008.
- The HCFAC account has returned more than $15.6 billion to the Medicare Trust Fund since its inception in 1997. During the past 3 years (2006-2009), the return-on-investment from the HCFAC law enforcement activities that form the primary focus of this annual report has averaged approximately $4 returned to the Trust Fund for every $1 of HCFAC funding provided for enforcement activities.
I wonder why there has been such an increase in the fight against Medicare fraud. Perhaps it’s because somebody in government actually cares about this issue – finally.