HHS' inspector general's office said it saved taxpayers $21 billion in fiscal 2002, $19.9 billion of which was attributed to the implementation of recommended Medicare efficiencies, often to reduce outlays. Some $4 billion of that reflected a change to the formula used in calculating disproportionate share payments, the inspector general's office said in its semiannual report. Roughly $1.5 billion of total savings represented settlements received from healthcare providers, with TAP Pharmaceutical Products, Lake Forest, Ill., accounting for more than half of the total settlement value. Twenty-six hospitals paid a combined total of $610,000 to resolve patient dumping allegations. An additional $426 million came from disallowed costs. The inspector general's office said it opened 1,654 civil and criminal cases, performed or oversaw 2,372 audits, and excluded 3,448 individuals and organizations from participating in federal healthcare programs. The total savings is $3 billion above the savings claimed by the agency in fiscal 2001 and $13.5 billion over the 1997 savings, when the agency's budget and authority were increased to fight healthcare fraud. -- by Mark Taylor
Inspector general claims big Medicare savings
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