Administration Unveils Plan To Reduce Medicaid Fraud, Waste.

Bloomberg News (9/15, Brower) reports that the Federal government “is targeting waste in government programs and announced a move to squeeze $2.1 billion out of the Medicaid program over the next five years by tracking down improper payments and fraud.” Vice President Joe Biden stated, “As long as there’s waste and fraud in government, serious waste and fraud, people lose confidence in the ability of their government to do their job for them.” He “announced the plan” Wednesday “at meeting with Jack Lew, White House budget director, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.” Touting the Administration’s progress against fraud and waste, Sebelius said, “There’s never been a worse time to try and steal from Medicare and Medicaid.”

The Hill (9/15, Needham) “Healthwatch” blog quotes Biden as saying, “Today’s announcements on cutting waste in Medicare, Medicaid and unemployment insurance shows that we can make our government more efficient and responsible to the American people.” Notably, “HHS will apply the framework from the Medicare Recovery Audit Contractor program to Medicaid,” saving about $2 billion “over five years by catching or stopping improper payments, returning about $900 million of that to the states. The Medicare program has recovered $668 million in improper payments to date in 2011, officials said.”

CQ (9/15, Norman, Subscription Publication) reports, “The program requires states to contract with entities that will be paid on a contingency basis to audit claims, identify overpayments and underpayments, and collect overpayments.” These “contractors can go back three years from the date the claim was paid, and must have staffs that include nurses, therapists, people who are certified in medical codes and a physician.” The National Journal (9/15, Joseph, Subscription Publication) also covers the story

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