White House Announces Plan to Crack Down on Medicare Fraud

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media , March 10, 2010

President Obama announced a new effort to crackdown on waste and fraud in Medicare and Medicaid and other programs through expanded use of payment recapture audits.

The audits offer specialized private auditors financial incentives to root out improper payments and have been demonstrated to be highly effective through pilot programs, according to the White House.

A presidential memorandum would direct all federal departments and agencies to expand and intensify their use of the payment recapture audits under their current authority.

In 2009, improper payments totaled $98 billion, with $54 billion stemming from Medicare and Medicaid, the White House said.

"The fact is Washington is a place where tax dollars are often treated like Monopoly money, bartered and traded, divvied up among lobbyists and special interests. And it has been a place where waste—even billions of dollars in waste—is accepted as the price of doing business," President Obama said in a statement.

A pilot program run by Medicare in three states—California, New York, and Texas—from 2005 to 2008 recaptured $900 million, according to the White House.

Joe Cantlupe is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media Online.

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