A House subcommittee will wade into the increasingly hot topic of fraud and abuse involving Medicare's drug benefit program.
During a hearing Tuesday, the Energy and Commerce Committee's Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee is slated to discuss measures needed to strengthen the integrity of Medicare's drug benefit program.
The hearing follows a flurry of activity drawing attention to the issue, including charges filed against 44 people across the country for Medicare Part D fraud in June—the first large-scale federal effort to focus on Part D fraud.
HHS' Office of Inspector General also released two reports in June shining a light on questionable billing patterns in Part D and urging the CMS to do more to protect the program.
According to one of those reports, more than 1,400 pharmacies had questionable billings for opioid drugs, and a number of cities had higher than average billings for certain medications last year.
The second report called on the CMS to implement more of the OIG's recommendations for combating Part D fraud and abuse.
Subcommittee members plan to examine those findings during the hearing Tuesday.
“Given the substantial federal dollars spent on Medicare Part D, and evidence of fraud and abuse in the program, the subcommittee is conducting oversight to ensure that the program operates more effectively and tax dollars are spent efficiently,” according to a background memo on the hearing.
The program is the fastest growing part of Medicare, according to the memo, with spending reaching $121 billion in 2014.
The committee may also discuss why the CMS has not implemented all of the OIG's recommendations, and whether the Obama administration is doing everything it came to protect the program.
Witnesses at the hearing will include Ann Maxwell, assistant inspector general for evaluation and inspections at the OIG, and Dr. Shantanu Agrawal, deputy administrator and director at CMS' Center for Program Integrity.
The hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Eastern time.