- Posted June 15, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Cost to Find $20 Million in Medicaid Fraud - $80 Million
In another example of how well our federal government spends taxpayer money, a report is out which states that the government spent $80 million to find $20 million in Medicaid fraud. The contracts with the fraud hunters have been cancelled or being reassigned.
Private contractors received $102 million to review Medicaid fraud data, yet had only found about $20 million in overpayments since 2008, according to a new report by the federal government.
"Significant federal and state resources are being poured in but only limited results are coming out," said Ann Maxwell, a regional inspector general for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The audits were found to be so ineffective they were stopped or put on hold, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office. The agency studied Medicaid audits performed by 10 companies.
The report was presented Thursday to the Senate subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, which is chaired by Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del. Carper and ranking member Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., said they were disappointed the committee was just now learning of the audit results.
"No accountability, no responsibility, no consequence for failure ... it's not about second guessing, it's about holding people responsible," Brown said.
Last week, federal health officials ended their contracts with three of the contractors. Two others will be reassigned.
The audits relied on Medicaid data that was often missing basic information, such as beneficiary's names or addresses and provider ID numbers, experts testified during a Senate hearing Thursday. The federal government doesn't share the names of potential criminals in the Medicare fraud program with states. That means state officials can't check to see if those providers are enrolled in the Medicaid program. States also do not have a uniform technology system to share data.
"National Medicaid data are not current, they are not complete and they are not accurate," Maxwell said.
The Medicaid program lost nearly $22 billion to fraud last year, the second highest amount of fraud for any federal program. Medicare, which provides health coverage for seniors, tops the list with more than $60 billion.
States mostly ran their own Medicaid fraud programs until 2005 when a law expanded federal oversight.
Federal health officials said they will work more closely with states in the future and announced a major push to improve data sharing last week.
From the Cornfield, once again we see what happens when oversight is moved from the states and given to the federal government.