U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and Attorney General of the United States Eric Holder wrote a letter to state attorneys general encouraging interaction with HHS and federal, state, and local law enforcement officials to help seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries avoid being defrauded.
According to HHS, “the outreach campaign is another step in the ongoing work of the Health Care Fraud Prevention Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), a cabinet-level initiative launch by HHS and DOJ in May 2009.”
“We are heading into the week when our first tax-free $250 donut hole rebate checks will be mailed out to Medicare beneficiaries who have fallen into the coverage gap. Accordingly, we are especially concerned about fraud and increased activity by criminals seeking to defraud seniors – and we are seeking your help to stop it,” write Sebelius and Holder. “Building on our record of aggressive action, we will use the new tools and resources provided by the Affordable Care Act to further crack down on fraud.”
Sebelius and Holder write that the key to success is education. Among the suggestions are cutting the improper payment rate, which tracks fraud, waste and abuse in the Medicare Fee for Service program, in half by 2012 as well as a series of regional fraud prevention summits across America over the next few months.
Also suggested is are “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 effort.”