The durable medical equipment and service sector will not be included in discussions at a federal “summit” to identify ways of preventing Medicare fraud. The American Association for Homecare (AAHomecare), which represents that sector, objects to being excluded from the discussions, which are taking place today, January 28.
The event is being billed as a “National Summit on Health Care Fraud” that brings together “leaders from the public and private sectors to identify and discuss innovative ways to eliminate fraud, waste and abuse in the U.S. health care system.” Speakers will include U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Attorney General Eric Holder.
Tyler J. Wilson, president of the American Association for Homecare, commented, “The national ‘summit’ on health care fraud, convened by HHS and DOJ, is going forward without the benefits of the perspective and insight of the home medical equipment sector and we object to being left out of the discussions. Our Association has proposed specific, concrete recommendations in an aggressive 13-point anti-fraud action plan which, if adopted, could further reduce the potential for unqualified providers to be granted Medicare supplier numbers in the first place and subsequently reduce the potential for fraud.”
Last February, the American Association for Homecare proposed to Congress a 13-point anti-fraud legislative action plan that calls for real-time audits and screens to catch fraudulent claims, more site inspections to ensure that Medicare allows only legitimate home medical equipment providers to file reimbursement claims, and a dedicated office at the federal government level to combat Medicare fraud. The Association has also recommended that more funding be made available to federal fraud fighters. See the Association’s full 13-point plan at www.aahomecare.org/stopfraud.
The American Association for Homecare also has endorsed the “Prevent Health Care Fraud Act of 2009,” S. 2128, which is designed to improve tools and resources available to prevent Medicare fraud. The bill was introduced by Sen. George LeMieux (R-Fla.) and it contains several provisions the American Association for Homecare outlined in its 13-point anti-fraud plan.
AAHomecare hopes Congress will incorporate the Association’s entire 13-point plan into law. The American Association for Homecare will continue to work with administration officials, key congressional committees, and members of Congress to find ways to curtail criminal activity within Medicare and at the same time preserve the ability of legitimate home medical equipment providers to serve Medicare beneficiaries.