Some medical supply companies that are committing fraud against Medicare in various ways, or who don't even have a license to legally operate and are kicked out of the program, can get back in with relative ease and do it all over again. This comes from a report released last week by the Government Accountability Office, which was first reported by the AP/Las Vegas Sun.
How much fraud? Well, of the $8.8 billion dolled out to medical equipment suppliers that are part of the program, illegitimate payments account for $900 million, according to comments by Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).
The problem largely stems from inadequate standards that have been put in place to monitor the activities of medical equipment suppliers. If a supplier is caught in fraudulent activity, they can resume activities after only a brief suspension. For example, the report notes examples of medical equipment suppliers being suspected only to be caught again on similar fraud changes just months after the suspension.
The larger financial impact of this fraud is not yet known, though Congress and the HSS are looking at ways to put such activities at bay.