Medicare Fraud Bill Proposed
Written by Editor   
Friday, April 10, 2015 12:00 AM

With all the partisan disputes now happening on Capitol Hill, it's rare to see a bipartisan bill -- especially one that could save the government money.But that's exactly what the Protecting the Integrity of Medicare Act -- otherwise known as H.R. 1021 -- seems to be. The House bill, which does not yet have a companion measure in the Senate, addresses healthcare fraud in the Medicare program in a variety of ways. Among its provisions, the bill would:

  • Remove Social Security numbers from Medicare identification cards.

  • Require that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) use the National Prescriber Identifiers (NPIs) as the only allowed prescriber identifier for the Medicare prescription drug program, and require that all subscriber claims be submitted with a valid prescriber NPI.

  • Require the Health and Human Services Secretary to develop a plan within 6 months to encourage more people to report Medicare fraud and abuse. The plan must include ideas for increasing rewards under current reporting programs as well as how to extend the program to Medicaid.

  • Encourage more state participation in the Medicare-Medicaid Data Match program, which allows authorities to better identify those perpetrating fraud across both programs.

  • Enable Medicare drug plans -- both Part D plans and Medicare Advantage plans that include prescription drug coverage -- to launch programs designed to limit abuse or diversion of opioids and similar medications.

The bill, which was also introduced last year, is co-sponsored by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), chairman of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, and Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), the committee's ranking member; it currently has 27 other co-sponsors.