Improper Medicare payments and fraud cost the taxpayers in excess of $50 billion last year alone, according to a report by Health and Human Services. Medicare spent over $554 billion last year.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has instituted new programs to prevent fraud and has started to screen 1.5 million Medicare suppliers. So far over 160,000 providers have had their billing privileges deactivated .
The latest budget requests $428 million for Medicare fraud prevention programs that could yield $13.5 billion in savings.
Health care providers are required to report and refund any overpayment of Medicare/Medicaid funds within 60 days after the overpayment was identified. Failure to do so is a direct violation of the False Claims Act and all of its fines, penalties on top of recovered moneys. A lack of vigilance in this area carries heavy risk.