Jul 16 2010
WASHINGTON - Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) commended federal law enforcement officials for the Medicare Fraud Strike Force's arrest today of 94 individuals involved in a Medicare fraud operation. Sen. Carper chaired a hearing earlier this week examining fraud and other vulnerabilities impacting Medicare.
"Today's arrest was a critical move for stopping crimes that would have defrauded $251 million from health care programs that our seniors depend on," said Sen. Carper. "That is no small sum. Unfortunately, there are more Medicare fraud crimes occurring every day. These arrests demonstrate that the Medicare Fraud Strike Force is alert and taking necessary action, and this step by the Department of Justice shows that there is a lot more work to be done to curb Medicare fraud."
"The federal law enforcement agencies deserve credit in this major, nationwide takedown. We need to take additional steps to prevent future Medicare scams by creating a fraud proof system. For example, Medicare needs a stronger program in place to ensure that prescriptions for medications and medical equipment are valid. Improper billings also need to be investigated. I will continue to partner with Secretary Sebelius, Attorney General Holder and others to make Medicare safer from criminals, stronger for our seniors and more cost effective for American taxpayers."
Yesterday, Sen. Carper's subcommittee on Federal Financial Management held a hearing on vulnerabilities in the Medicare system that can lead to overpayments and fraud. The Inspector General testified that the Medicare system is not properly ensuring that prescription drugs and medical equipment authorizations come from valid prescribers, such as licensed doctors. Sen. Carper pressed the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency overseeing Medicare, to establish deadlines for creating an improved system that will ensure valid prescriptions, as well as take additional anti-fraud steps.