Letter to President Obama: Support Program Integrity Reform Instead of Across-the-Board Cuts and Higher Costs for Seniors

The Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare supports program integrity reforms in the Medicare program specifically targeting fraud and abuse to prevent these behaviors before they can occur.

As a member of the Fight Fraud First! coalition, the Partnership is working with others to ask policy makers to make every effort to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse from the Medicare program before cutting Medicare payments or asking beneficiaries who rely on these important services to shoulder more out-of-pocket costs.

In a letter sent to President Obama this week, Fight Fraud First! urged the Obama Administration to support program integrity reform instead of across-the-board cuts and increased costs for our nation’s vulnerable seniors. Read the letter below:

 

April 10, 2013

President Barack Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama,

As a coalition of groups representing millions of older Americans, persons with disabilities, minorities, veterans and healthcare providers – founded on the premise that eliminating waste, fraud and abuse in the Medicare and Medicaid programs should be a priority for lawmakers to reduce health care spending – we urge your Administration to support program integrity reform instead of across-the-board cuts and increased costs for our nation’s vulnerable seniors.

We respect that leaders in Washington have to make tough decisions when it comes to securing America’s financial future. While progress must be made, we ask that lawmakers strongly consider advancing policy solutions that generate savings through targeted efforts to prevent fraudulent activity and wasteful spending in the Medicare program, and increase successful programs designed to recoup government funds lost to fraud and abuse.

As you prepare to release your FY 2014 budget, we respectfully ask you to propose targeted solutions to prevent improper and fraudulent payments before they occur. Strengthening the current pay-and-chase system through program integrity reforms is a solution that makes sense for older adults, taxpayers and our nation’s health care delivery system.

Data suggest up to an estimated ten percent of Medicare funding is lost to waste, fraud, and abuse each year.1 Successful programs created by your Administration have addressed system weaknesses and yielded billions of dollars in Medicare savings. We believe even more can be done. Therefore, we ask that you support targeted approaches to combating fraud and abuse to protect our nation’s nearly 50 million Medicare beneficiaries.

Our organizations came together in the collective belief that correcting inefficiencies in the Medicare program is the most prudent approach to reducing federal spending within the Medicare program. Rather than turning to Medicare cuts or higher premiums or copayments that unfairly burden seniors, we urge the federal government to achieve savings by implementing policy solutions that stop waste, fraud, and abuse before it starts.

We encourage you to reject increased out-of-pocket costs or cuts to Medicare that would restrict beneficiary access or reduce benefits, and instead call for program integrity reforms that protect beneficiaries and save valuable taxpayer dollars.

Sincerely,

AARP

American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association

Caregiver Action Network

HealthHIV

National Association for Uniformed Services

National Grange

National Hispanic Council on Aging

Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare

RetireSafe

Veterans Health Council

Vietnam Veterans of America

 1 U.S. Government Accountability Office. Medicare: Program Remains at High Risk Because of Continuing Management Challenges. GAO-11-430T. March 2, 2011.

 

 

CMMI Director Touts Value of Home Health

In a hearing before the Senate Finance Committee last week, CMS’ Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) Director, Dr. Richard Gilfillan, was the sole witness at a recent Senate Finance Committee hearing on ways to reform Medicare and Medicaid.  In his written testimony and during the hearing, Dr. Gilfillan sited the value of home healthcare in new delivery models for Medicare and Medicaid.

He further described how demonstration programs involving home health are working to improve outcomes and reduce Medicare costs.

In his written testimony, he states:

“Innovation Center initiatives include the Independence at Home Demonstration, created by the Affordable Care Act, which uses home-based primary care teams designed to improve health outcomes and reduce expenditures for Medicare beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions. Under the Independence at Home Demonstration, selected primary care practices will provide home-based primary care to targeted chronically ill beneficiaries for a three-year period. Participating practices will make in-home visits tailored to an individual patient’s needs and preferences with the goal of keeping them from being hospitalized.”

Click here to see the video recording of the hearing.