I read with interest the article headlined “Lessons in fraud, abuse,” (Oct. 25, p. 10) concerning our report on fraud and abuse training in medical education, as well as the reaction of professors and leaders of residency programs. Our study found that 44% of medical schools and more than two-thirds of residency and fellowship programs provided instruction on Medicare and Medicaid fraud and abuse laws. Consistent with the study's findings, those quoted in the article supported providing new physicians with additional information about fraud and abuse laws. They also suggested it might be more effective to teach this material during residency programs, when the students are learning the more practical aspects of medical practice. These institutions expressed interest in guidance and information on these important laws from HHS' inspector general's office. I am pleased to report that my office has already responded. Last week we released a booklet entitled A Roadmap for New Physicians: Avoiding Medicare and Medicaid Fraud and Abuse. It is also posted on our website at the following Internet address: oig.hhs.gov/fraud/physicianeducation. Written for the busy medical student, resident or practicing physician, this booklet gives a concise summary of the most important fraud and abuse laws, includes valuable tips on identifying risk areas, and offers sources of more information. The booklet can be helpful to students and residents alike, and provides an up-to-date overview for practicing physicians. We will also send copies of the booklet to deans of all medical schools and designated institutional officials. We will defer to the judgment of the medical schools and residency programs regarding the best time to provide this important information. We are gratified by their commitment to the integrity of the healthcare system and their determination to help our next generation of physicians understand these important laws.
Daniel R. LevinsonHHS inspector generalWashington