The CMS has not made cracking down on Medicaid fraud a priority, according to testimony today by a Government Accountability Office official at a Senate Finance Committee hearing on the issue. The hearing came as Congress continues to explore ways to cut funding for the program and revamp it. Leslie Aronovitz, director of healthcare for the GAO, said in her testimony that the CMS' total staff devoted to overseeing Medicaid fraud and abuse control was short of what is needed. That along with "a lack of specified goals for Medicaid fraud and abuse control raise questions about the agency's level of commitment to improving states' activities in this area."
The CMS said it has hired almost 100 new staff members to work with states on the issue. The CMS said it also has implemented electronic systems to weed out fraudulent Medicaid claims. As a result, the agency said, 26 states have stopped using questionable financial practices that inappropriately increased the federal government's share of funding for the program. -- by Tony Fong