Feds Turn Up HEAT on Fraud
Department of Justice (DOJ) Attorney General Eric Holder and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced May 20 that they intend to step up efforts to combat Medicare fraud with the newly formed Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT) and Strike Force team expansion.
“Today we are turning up the heat on perpetrators who steal from the taxpayers and threaten the future of Medicare and Medicaid,” said Secretary Sebelius.
Expanding the joint DOJ-HHS Medicare Fraud Strike Force teams, currently operating in South Florida and Los Angeles, to Detroit and Houston is just the beginning.
The HEAT team, which includes senior officials from the DOJ and HHS, will work to strengthen existing fraud prevention programs and invest in new resources and technology, according to an HHS press release.
Some of the initiatives include:
- Expansion of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) demonstration project on durable medical equipment (DME) to increase site visits during the provider enrollment process;
- Expansion of the CMS Medicaid provider audit program;
- Increasing Medicare compliance training for providers;
- Improving data sharing between CMS and law enforcement; and
- Strengthening program integrity activities with new funding to monitor and ensure Medicare Parts C and D compliance and enforcement.
Attorney General Holder and HHS Secretary Sebelius are also calling American citizens to action, asking them to report suspected Medicare fraud via a new Web site or by calling 1-800-HHS-TIPS (1-800-477-8477).