AG Holder, HHS Secretary Sebelius issue joint letter on healthcare fraud to state AGs

by Ben Vernia | June 8th, 2010

On June 8, Attorney General Eric Holder and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released a letter sent to the state Attorneys General galvanizing them to increased risks of healthcare fraud and describing Obama Administration healthcare fraud initiatives. In the letter, the Secretary and AG described their plans for increased enforcement activities:

First, the President has directed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to cut the improper payment rate, which tracks fraud, waste and abuse in the Medicare Fee for Service program, in half by 2012.

Second, following on the National Health Care Fraud Summit we co-hosted in Washington earlier this year, the President has asked both our Departments to convene a series of regional fraud prevention summits around the country over the next few months. The first summit will take place in Miami on July 16. Other summits will follow in, for example, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Detroit, Boston, New York, and Philadelphia.

These summits will bring together top federal and state officials; representatives of federal, state, and local law enforcement; representatives of our agencies; the health care provider community, such as hospitals and doctors; local businesses; the Senior Medicare Patrol; caregivers; and seniors, for a day of panels and training sessions. Your expertise and experience will be instrumental to the success of these events.

Third, at the Attorney General’s request, the Acting Deputy Attorney General has sent a memo to every United States Attorney in the country asking them to convene regular health care fraud task force meetings to facilitate the exchange of information with partners in the public and private sector, and to help coordinate anti-fraud efforts. Most of these meetings will be held quarterly, with some exceptions for smaller districts. All 93 U.S. Attorneys have been asked to put a plan into place and schedule their first meeting by August 16, 2010. We hope that you and your office will take part in these regular exchanges on effective fraud fighting strategies.

Fourth, HHS will be doubling the size of the Senior Medicare Patrol and putting more boots on the ground in the fight against Medicare fraud. Since 1997, HHS and its Administration on Aging have funded Senior Medicare Patrol projects to recruit and train retired professionals and other senior citizens about how to recognize and report instances or patterns of health care fraud. Close to three million Medicare beneficiaries have been educated since the start of the program, and more than one million one-on-one counseling sessions have taken place with seniors or their caregivers. Currently, the Senior Medicare Patrol program funds projects in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Fifth, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, in conjunction with the Administration on Aging, will be launching an educational media campaign this summer to educate Medicare beneficiaries about the importance of staying vigilant with their personal Medicare information and getting the facts out about the new law so that scam artists are not able to prey on seniors.

A pdf of the letter can be found here.

Leave a Reply

Recent Posts

Recent Comments