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Justice Department Action Underscores Need for Targeted Medicare Program Integrity Reform

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 23, 2013
Contact: Emily White
703-548-0019

Justice Department Action Underscores Need for Targeted Medicare Program Integrity Reform

Seven arrested for Medicare fraud scheme totaling $22 million

WASHINGTON — On behalf of the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare - a coalition of home healthcare agencies dedicated to developing innovative reforms to improve the program integrity, quality, and efficiency of home healthcare for our nation's seniors - Chairman Billy Tauzin (R-LA) and Senator John Breaux (D-LA) made the following statement:

"Last week's indictment in Detroit is further evidence that immediate action is needed to increase national efforts to target and catch criminals who are stealing billions of taxpayer dollars and victimizing America's seniors. The prosecution of criminals involved in fraudulent activity is critical to protecting the Medicare program, however more must be done to stop Medicare fraud and abuse before it begins.

"Federal data can be used to identify exactly where healthcare fraud is taking place, therefore targeted reforms should be put in place that prevent criminals from entering the Medicare program, billing the government for false claims and taking advantage of vulnerable beneficiaries.

"The home health community has been leading efforts to advance reform proposals that specifically target fraud and abuse by ensuring that Medicare dollars never reach criminal hands. The "Skilled Home Healthcare Integrity and Program Savings" (SHHIPS) proposal includes provisions that would prevent overpayments before they happen by enforcing stricter entry rules and program safeguards to ensure less wasteful spending and criminal activity in the system.

"The Partnership applauds the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for bringing criminals to justice and looks forward to working with lawmakers to advance policy solutions to stop Medicare fraud before it ever is allowed to occur.

"Through targeted reform, we can secure seniors' access to clinically advanced, cost effective, patient preferred home healthcare " and stop the bad actors who are preying on current weaknesses in the Medicare program."

For more information on the indictment, visit http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2013/January/13-crm-079.html.


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