$5.6 Billion in Total Fraud Recoveries in 2011; HHS Launches Aggressive Tactics to Fight Medicare Drug Fraud
Dec 13 2011
WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, hailed the Obama Administration's continued efforts to crack down on fraud across the federal government. In an announcement earlier today, the Administration launched a series of aggressive new tactics to prevent Medicare fraud, an action that mirrors Sen. Carper's ongoing efforts on the issue. Sen. Carper has been a leading advocate in the Senate for improving efforts to cut waste, fraud and abuse throughout government agencies, including Medicare and Medicaid.
As part of the Administration's ongoing Campaign to Cut Waste, the Vice President and the Deputy Attorney General announced the Department of Justice (DOJ) recovered over $5.6 billion in total fraud in 2011, an increase of over 167 percent since 2008 – including almost $3.4 billion in civil fraud and over $2.2 billion in criminal fraud. Moreover, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that HHS will direct all Medicare prescription drug plans to use every tool at their disposal to prevent fraud, specifically "doctor shopping." Doctor shopping is when an individual goes to more than one doctor, for the same prescription. The Administration cites a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, which was requested by Sen. Carper, that found "170,000 Medicare beneficiaries received prescriptions from five or more" doctors for drugs that are frequently abused, like OxyContin and Percocet.
"The Administration's announcement today is another major step in our ongoing fight against waste, fraud and abuse within the federal government, and puts us on a path toward a culture of thrift in federal financial management," said Sen. Carper. "While there is no silver bullet to solve all of our nation's fiscal woes, the aggressive fraud prevention tactics introduced today are part of our broader effort to reduce fraud and curb the federal deficit. Today's announcement to go after Medicare recipients who try to game the system and engage in 'doctor shopping' is something I've encouraged the Administration to do for a while now. Every dollar these bad actors steal from the Medicare system is one dollar less for the individuals who really need this care. I am encouraged that the Administration heeded my advice and the advice of the Government Accountability Office to tighten up control of the program and help curb dangerous misuse of prescription drugs. Aside from our financial imperative to protect taxpayer dollars, the federal government has a moral imperative to ensure that our public health care system isn't misused to further intensify and subsidize a public health crisis through drug abuse. The progress of the Administration's 'Campaign to Cut Waste' shows that we are serious about being absolutely relentless when it comes to achieving better results for less money in the federal government. I look forward to working with the Administration and my colleagues here in Congress to continue to realize progress in this important effort to reduce fraud and waste throughout the federal government."
To read more information on the Administration's announcement, please visit www.whitehouse.gov.
As part of his ongoing efforts to curb waste, fraud and abuse within Medicare and Medicaid, Sen. Carper with Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Scott Brown (R-Mass.), developed the bipartisan The Medicare and Medicaid Fighting Fraud and Abuse to Save Taxpayer Dollars Act (S.1251) – also known as the "FAST Act" – which contains a set of important steps that will help rein in those trying to defraud our federal health care programs and fight the illegal diversion of drugs from Medicare and Medicaid.