MEDICARE FRAUD: KENNEDY TO INTRODUCE BILL
Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) plans to introduce legislationThis is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
next month that would make it "easier to probe Medicare fraud and
abuse," Providence Journal-Bulletin reports. Under the Fight
Fraud in Medicare Act, the General Accounting Office would be
required to "investigate whether the rate of Medicare fraud is
... higher at for-profit companies than at nonprofits." Kennedy
said, "We need to make those who engage in Medicare fraud
accountable." He added that he believes for-profit companies
"commit more fraud than their not-for-profit" counterparts.
Kennedy aide Kimber Colton said the measure "would rectify a
lapse in federal record-keeping practices." Currently, federal
Medicare fraud data does not "distinguish between for-profit and
Kennedy's bill "would require the GAO to distinguish between
the two types of institutions in comparing Medicare fines,
settlements and overpayments." Kennedy's bill would also charge
fees for investigations by the Department of Health and Human
Services into hospitals and other health care providers "who want
to be part of the Medicare system." In addition it would:
encourage "random investigations" of Medicare providers, provide
the Medicare inspector general "access to the National Data Bank
System, which provides information on all licensed medical
practitioners," and establish educational programs for Medicare
providers (McPhillips, 8/26).
Rep. Kennedy's bill is similar to a measure he and
California Democrat Pete Stark co-sponsored earlier this year, HB
433. Click here for more information about HB 433.