A bipartisan initiative to clarify the extent of fraud and abuse in federal healthcare programs should begin bearing fruit in May, according to a Thursday request from healthcare leaders in the Senate.
Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the Finance Committee, and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), ranking member on the committee, asked HHS officials to begin providing by May 20 quarterly reports that quantify the extent of the department's ongoing anti-fraud efforts.
Federal healthcare officials had informally agreed to Baucus' request for such information during a March 2 hearing
Baucus said at that hearing that more information on federal anti-fraud efforts was needed, in part, to counter public perceptions that the $800 billion federal healthcare programs are rife with unchecked fraud.
“We need to stay ahead of the criminals who defraud taxpayers out of tens of billions of dollars each year, and these reports will provide a valuable measuring stick that will go a long way to protect Medicare and Medicaid,” Baucus said in a written statement about the letter.
Among the information the senators requested are updates on HHS' implementation of anti-fraud initiatives included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The law's anti-fraud programs include a Medicare criminal screening system for new healthcare providers.