Report: Fraud, Abuse Drive Jump in Medicare Home Health Spending
Fraud and abuse by some home health care providers contributed to a 44% rise in Medicare spending on home health care services over five years, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Friday, USA Today reports.
The report reviewed home care payments between 2002 and 2006. The number of Medicare beneficiaries using in-home services increased by 17% to 2.8 million during that period and spending on home health care services reached $13 billion in 2006.
According to the report, some home care providers exaggerated beneficiaries' medical conditions, while others billed the government for unnecessary services or care they did not provide.
The study recommended that CMS consider performing criminal background checks on home care providers and developing new rules that make removing problem providers easier.
Senate Finance Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who requested the report, said, "There's no excuse for Medicare officials neglecting payment problems."Acting CMS Administrator Charlene Frizzera said the government "is committed to continually reviewing and refining our process to improve the Medicare program." She said Medicare is working to manage improper payments for home care services (Appleby, USA Today, 3/13). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.