Attention, healthcare con artists: The people who invented the most destructive weapons in history are now on the lookout for Medicare fraud.
HCFA has signed a $6 million, two-year contract with Los Alamos (N.M.) National Laboratory, the facility where the nation's nuclear weapons were developed, to use its supercomputers to analyze Medicare transactions and help identify fraud, abuse and simple mistakes.
Los Alamos is an Energy Department laboratory operated by the University of California. It was established in connection with the World War II Manhattan Project to develop the first atomic bomb. The contract comes as HCFA is trying to consolidate intermediaries' different computer systems into a single Medicare Transaction System (See story, this page).
Los Alamos will help fuse the various computer systems and develop methods of analyzing the combined Medicare data to make it easier to detect such mistakes as double billing, coding errors and unbundling of multiple medical services that usually are billed as a single service.