Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.), the powerful congressman who has been a vocal critic of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services chief Thomas Scully, urged the Justice Department to be "vigilant" in reviewing a proposed settlement of Medicare cost-reporting issues at HCA, Nashville. The $250 million proposal is not a strong enough message to the industry that fraud doesn't pay, Stark said. "As you evaluate the proposed settlement, I urge you to consider its potential deterrent effects and the implications for future oversight efforts," he wrote in a letter to Assistant U.S. Attorney General Robert McCallum Jr. Stark, the ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means' health subcommittee, is among six congressmen who have asked the General Accounting Office to evaluate whether personnel changes at HHS' office of the inspector general are likely to hinder its fraud-fighting efforts. -- Susanna Moon
Stark calls for close scrutiny of HCA settlement
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