Collectively, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice work to reduce healthcare fraud and investigate dishonest providers and suppliers. The Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team recouped almost 3 billion in fraud, this year alone. Also, aggressive strategies exist to eliminate Medicare prescription fraud. Patients abusing or selling painkillers received by visiting several doctors and obtaining multiple prescriptions costs Medicare millions annually. Fraud affects everyone, preventing it requires government officials and citizens diligently working together.
(Jones and Jing) Though citizens might not see the effects of health care fraud directly, everyone is impacted in one way or another either through increased taxes, high insurance costs, or the inability to afford health care coverage. While we all hear about major frauds in the system, a majority of the frauds are small and usually go through undetected, unreported, or seriously underreported. (Sparrow) These small frauds add up to be a huge problem. There is a large spectrum of frauds in the health-care systems ranging from the theft of a wheelchair, to organized crime groups that steal patient information and bill for phantom services in multimillion-dollar schemes. (Jones and Jing) In many cases, the fraud is minor but all the small scams add up to an enormous loss to the public. For example, the frequent occurrences of forging of a doctor’s signature on a prescription accounts for billions of dollars lost each year. (Jones and Jing) One of the most common crimes involves billing for services that were never performed. This involves a health care provider submitting a false claim to be paid for a patient that was never treated or adding on services to a patient. For example a doctor may obtain names of other people such as a patients spouse or child who are covered by insurance and put in a claim for them as well as the actual patient. (FBI) Another common fraudulent activity involves upcoding of services. This is when a healthcare
Federal or state authorities may investigate allegations of fraud depending on where the fraud was reported, the laws broken, and the amount of money involved. The strictness of penalties levied by state governments varies from state to state. Federal laws such as The False Claims Act, Anti-Kickback Statute, and Social Security Act are laws that address fraud and abuse. Title XI of the Social Security Act contains Medicaid program-related anti-fraud provisions, which impose civil penalties, criminal penalties, and exclusions from federal health care programs on persons who engage in certain types of misconduct (Staman, 2010). Under federal regulations, providers convicted of fraud are excluded for a minimum of five years from receiving funds from any federally
Medical costs are getting too expensive. Ever fought with your insurance providers because they refused to pay for care, or struggle to find an “in-network” provider? I know a woman whose name I will change for her privacy and the struggles she is going through are a perfect example of an issue many people face when dealing with insurance; Nancy’s (name changed for privacy) story is a perfect example of how our healthcare system is no longer working for the people. Nancy is this woman whose husband recently passed away. Nancy used to work for county and county workers cannot receive social security; and Nancy is too
Medicare and Medicaid fraud has some strengths as well as weaknesses. A strength that comes with healthcare fraud is The Affordable Care Act. This act helps to fight health care fraud, abuse and waste (Department of Human Services, 2014). Many laws have been implemented to help commit those people that have been committing Medicare and Medicaid fraud. Per the Center of Medicare and Medicaid services website “The Affordable Care Act increases the federal sentencing guidelines for health care fraud offenses by 20-50% for crimes that involve more than $1 million in losses, establishes penalties for obstructing a fraud investigation and makes it easier for the government to recapture any funds acquired through fraudulent practices” (Department
In the current U.S. system the free market prevails and companies, in this case, major insurance providers “compete” for business. This competitive business approach should in theory drive costs down. For some reason, however, an argument can be made that it has produced the opposite result in profiteering. The nation’s largest insurer, UnitedHealth, boasted over a 10 percent revenue increase in 2013 according to Forbes (2013). Health insurance affordability contributes to the disparity in access to health care, as evidenced by the fact that there are millions that are still uncovered. A greater majority of certain minorities lack both health insurance and the financial resource to seek out either health care or insurance. While insurance companies reap huge profits the percent of private sector companies offering health insurance has dropped to less than 50 percent (Kaiser, 2013). There is decidedly a lack of coordination of care for this at risk population as well, since treatment is rendered sporadically and with continuously changing providers. The last major challenge is that of improving the quality of health care. According to a 2010 report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (OIG), an estimated 13.5 percent of Medicare beneficiaries experienced adverse events during their hospital stay and an additional 13.5 percent experienced a temporary
Some federal statutes address fraud in government health care programs, and many of these laws vary considerably (Krause 2004). Some of these laws specifically target health care fraud. Example of the laws that the government direct at inappropriate health care activities includes the “Medicare and Medicaid Anti-Kickback Statute and Ethics in Patient Referrals Act (EPRA).”
Health care has become a target for unscrupulous individuals. Both private industry and government are employing a variety of tools to combat fraud and abuse. Since 1992, we have made tremendous progress in protecting the fiscal integrity of the Medicare program. An example is the HCFA initiated partnership with the enforcement agencies targeting fraud and abuse in those five states that account for nearly 40 percent of all Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. This two-year project, Operation Restore Trust, encompassed a wide range of projects aimed at eliminating fraud schemes and identifying vulnerabilities in the Medicare programs. The reforms enacted in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 provide significant new tools to further assist us. But I think we all know that equally tremendous challenges he ahead. Our goal is to ensure that the Medicare and Medicaid programs have the necessary arsenal to combat fraud and
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) “health care fraud costs the country an estimated $80 billion dollars a year” ("Health Care Fraud," n.d., p. 1). Because health care costs continue to rise more rapidly than the rate of inflation the threat of health care fraud continues to rise. The Affordable Health Care Act has put new policies in place to identify and stop health care fraud. The FBI along with other government, insurance, and public agencies have joined together to combat fraud at every level. New rules in identifying, investigating, and prosecuting fraud before payments are made to medical providers could save billions of
Millions of dollars are spent on healthcare every year in USA but the health of the beneficiaries has not increased accordingly. Just providing healthcare is not enough; quality healthcare with long term benefits should be the aim of the healthcare providers. I have studied and worked in certain multi-specialty hospitals and government facilities in my home town. I have seen corruption and frauds happening at various levels and hence wanted to study about how such non profit and
Healthcare services have been on the rise for over 10 years now. According to a 2012 consumer alert, the industry provided $2.26 trillion in payments for more than four billion health insurance benefit claims in the year 2011(Fraud in Health Care). The bulk of the claims and the mainstream of fraud and abuse stem from the Medicare system professionals, who are knowledgeable about the process and persuade new clients into handing over their pertinent information in hopes of deception and illegitimate claims. Multiple and double billing, fraudulent prescriptions, are some of the major flaws in this organization that has made the healthcare services industry curdle. (AGHAEGBUNA, 2011) This is a non-violet crime and is often committed by very
Although Congress has used several anti-fraud measures to protect the federal government health care programs, the False Claims Act of 1986 has become the main weapon that government prosecutors use against perpetrators of health care fraud. Designed to prevent fraud and other abuses in federal government programs, the False Claims Act has been the primary statute the government has used in its fight against health care fraud. However, government prosecutors do not rely on one statute in their prosecution of alleged cases of health care fraud. Instead, they rely on a combination of statutes, but the False Claims Act has emerged as the main statutory weapon.
As the healthcare industry begins to expand its horizons, by featuring more staff and patients, the types of frauds that are committed also rise in number and complexity. One of the many consequences that derives from fraud within the healthcare system includes an increase in the cost of healthcare itself. In order to limit and analyze fraud that encompasses the entirety of the healthcare industry, it is necessary to assess the different types of frauds and in doing so also understand the method of reimbursement involving the professionals and members of the health care industry. Since a majority of these reimbursements are paid by insurances or through government programs, a program known as coding was created in order to organize and properly pay off these reimbursements(Marilyn Price, Donna Norris, 2009). One of the many
According to Paul E. Kalb MD, JD, these trends will likely continue”. Fraud and abuse will exist. Therefore, the strictest of fines and sentencing of imprisonment are the many consequences for anyone violating the law and it can include; civil monetary penalties, loss of licensing, loss of staffing privileges, and expulsion from participating in all federal health care programs. Under federal laws anyone that commits fraud at any degree especially fraud that results in any injury of any kind to a patient, fines and imprisonment doubles to twenty years in jail and if the fraud results in death of a patient they can and will be sentenced to life in a federal prison. The US Department of Justice also enforce federal criminal and civil statutes. The Department of Health and also the Human Services' Office of Inspector General can pursue administrative actions; and all state can pursued there own actions through their individual state laws. In addition, under the False Claims Act, acting in the name of the United States, private whistle-blowers may file suits against any physician that has committed these crimes. Enforcement of health care fraud and abuse laws has become increasingly self-satisfying and now affects many providers.
These crooks are the possible cause of ruining the reputation of the most trusted and appreciated professionals of our society – physicians. Healthcare fraud can be committed in a variety of ways, but three of the most widely used are described below. The first and most widely known, is billing services that were never endured by using general patient information. When giving personal information out, many hand it over to the front desk assistant at the local doctor. These appear to be people are some of the most known to scam the information and bill patient’s payments that never took place. Keep in mind that when handing over information, the handler is a trusted individual with a good reputation. On the other hand, many are scammed for the opposite; otherwise known as “upcoding,” where patients are billed more expensive services that were actually done. In fact, according to USA.gov a new study showed that 7 percent of identity fraud victims this year reported identity thieves stole their health insurance information, rising up from just 3 percent last year (Federal Bureau Investigation, 2010). This includes the latest scam, called “unbundling,” where scammers con bills and bill each step of a procedure as if it were a separate making the individual pay even more money, leaving devastating effects for the victim. All of which have a common goal of making taxpayers, insurance companies, and