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American Association for Homecare Supports Expanded Federal Efforts by DOJ and HHS to Combat Medicare Fraud
Date:5/20/2009

ARLINGTON, Va., May 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Association for Homecare supports expanded anti-fraud efforts announced today by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) designed to curb fraud and abuse in Medicare. The two agencies outlined plans for expanding anti-fraud strike forces to Houston and Detroit and creating a new Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team.

Even with the stepped-up DOJ-HHS effort, the American Association for Homecare believes more must be done to stop fraud and it continues to urge Congress and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to adopt the 13 specific anti-fraud recommendations proposed by the Association in 2008, which could eliminate most of the fraud associated with home medical equipment (HME) payments.

Some of the Association's proposals were included in the Seniors and Taxpayers Obligation Protection (STOP) Act, S. 975, which the Association supports. However, Congress should adopt all 13 of the anti-fraud measures. A proactive solution is more effective than the "pay and chase" method and makes more sense than the endless cycle of unwarranted cuts to Medicare reimbursement for durable medical equipment. The 13-point plan targets the source of the problem.

"For a long time, the activities of criminals have tarnished the good name of honest providers of home medical equipment and services," said Tyler J. Wilson, president of the American Association for Homecare. "We support expanded and more effective government efforts to stamp out fraud."

The discussion about keeping criminals out of Medicare sometimes obscures several facts: home-based care is vastly more cost-effective than institutional care; durable medical equipment represents about 1.6 percent of Medicare spending; and spending growth in this sector is a mere 0.75 percent, according to federal
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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