Federal health officials, announced Friday, that starting Tuesday certain types of Medicare and Medicaid providers will be banned from enrolling in the taxpayer-funded programs for the poor in three cities that have high fraud rates.
This is the first time that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has used its ability to stop new Medicare and Medicaid providers from joining the taxpayer-funded programs. The ban will last for up to six months. Providers who are already part of the program are unaffected by the bans. The three areas receiving the bans are Miami, Chicago and Houston, reports the Associated Press.
“NAHC has long supported program integrity measures such as this and strongly recommended that Congress give CMS the authority to issue a moratorium as part of the Affordable Care Act,” Val J. Halamandaris, president of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice, told the Associated Press.”We look forward to continue working with CMS as it considers other areas of the country where a moratorium may be needed.”
The decision to ban new providers is being used to combat an estimated $60 billion a year in Medicare fraud. Federal health officials were initially reluctant to ban new providers for fear that they might harm legitimate providers and hinder patients’ access to care, reports the Associated Press.
Since 2011 CMS has blocked 14,000 supplier’s ability to collect Medicare reimbursements for reasons such as ”felony convictions, not being in operation at the address CMS had on file, or otherwise not being in compliance with CMS rules,” reports Medical Daily.
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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