Sen. Carper Highlights Report Detailing $397 Million Dollars in Improper Medicare Payments Recovered by Enhanced Audit Program

Report Details Recoveries for First 3 Months of 2012; Recovery Program on Track to Double Amount Recoveries Over Previous Year

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, highlighted a recent report showing that in the first quarter of fiscal year 2012, $397 million in Medicare Fee-for-Service overpayments were recouped by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS). This latest figure represents the largest amount of improper payments recovered during one quarter since the start of the National Recovery Audits Contractor (RAC) program.

“Our efforts to curb the billions of dollars in fraudulent and improper Medicare payments are paying off, but there’s still more we can do.” said Sen. Carper. “This report shows that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Recovery Audit Contractors program is on track to double the amount of recovered overpayments this year compared to last year. That’s remarkable progress in just a few months, but we can’t rest on our laurels when there’s clearly more work to be done. Given successes the recovery work has already achieved at this early stage in the year, I encourage the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to continue to aggressively pursue the recovery of these scarce taxpayer dollars.

“Given our massive federal debt and deficit, we must be vigilant in our efforts to end the errors and fraud that cost our nation billions every year,” continued Sen. Carper. “Medicare officials have begun to step up their efforts to identify payment errors and build upon these successes in recovering funds paid out improperly. Just as important, Medicare officials need to continue to work closely with auditors to spot patterns in erroneous payments so we can take steps to prevent these improper payments from happening in the first place.”

Medicare’s Recovery Audit Contracting employs private contractors to examine payments to hospitals, physicians and other health care providers in order to identify overpayments and other payment errors. Initially the Recovery Audit Contractor program focused on the Medicare fee-for-service programs (Part A and B), but Sen. Carper worked to include a provision in the Affordable Care Act to expand the program throughout Medicare and Medicaid.

In 2011, the Medicare Recovery Audit Contracting program recovered $797 million. In July 2010, President Obama signed Sen. Carper’s bill, Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act of 2010 (IPERA), into law, which required all federal agencies consider similar programs in order to recover the estimated $115 billion in all agency improper payments federal-wide. In July 2011, Sen. Carper introduced the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Improvement Act of 2011 which builds on the important work started by IPERA by strengthening the identification of federal government waste and fraud. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved the bill in October.

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