Peter Budetti (LA Times): ….. Medicare is a success story, providing high-quality benefits and a strong safety net for seniors and people with disabilities. But as costs have grown … so have the opportunities for criminals to commit fraud.
In his Aug. 21 Times Op-Ed article, Malcolm Sparrow focused on one part of this problem, explaining how criminals take advantage of Medicare’s electronic payment system to make false claims. But what Sparrow does not mention is that over the last two years the Obama administration has undertaken an ambitious effort to rid Medicare of criminals, and we are turning the electronic payment system to our advantage in that fight.
Since President Obama took office, we have conducted an unprecedented crackdown on those who steal from Medicare, giving law enforcement greater resources, putting more boots on the ground and increasing penalties. In 2010, these efforts recovered a record $4 billion in taxpayer money.
But we’re not just prosecuting fraud. We’re also taking steps to prevent it…. (see article for details)
In the past our response to fraud was often so fragmented because different jurisdictions didn’t have easy ways to share information …. Today, not only do we have all our claims data visible in one place in real time, we’re also adding other sources of information such as the many tips that come in to our 1-800-MEDICARE hotline….
…. For criminals looking to get rich, Medicare’s electronic payment system was once an easy target. In the fight against fraud today, it’s quickly becoming one of our own greatest weapons.
Full article here
Peter Budetti is the deputy administrator and director for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Center for Program Integrity