U.S. Senator David Perdue joined Republican members of the Senate Budget Committee in asking the Department of Health and Human Services to explain "how the agency plans to stop wasteful spending and address the $89 billion in improper Medicaid and Medicare payments the agency paid in fiscal year 2017."
“Improper payments continue to be a major problem for the federal government,” wrote the senators. “The Government Accountability Office estimates that government-wide improper payments totaled $141 billion in fiscal year 2017. The Department of Health and Human Services estimates that approximately $89 billion, or 63 percent of all improper payments, were made within the Medicare and Medicaid programs. We are deeply concerned by the substantial amount of improper payments in these two programs. Your attention to this matter is needed to ensure that taxpayer dollars are adequately safeguarded.”
“Acting on the outstanding GAO recommendations is essential to reducing the amount of improper payments in these programs…As members of the Senate Budget Committee, we believe that a high priority must be placed on reducing improper payments and ensuring proper stewardship of taxpayer dollars,” wrote the senators.
The Budget Committee members also highlighted several GAO recommendations for reducing improper payments in Medicare and Medicaid that could be implemented without action from Congress. These include:
Monitoring the Recovery Audit Data Warehouse to ensure that all Medicare post-payment review contractors are submitting required data and that the database contents are accurate and complete
Requiring states to measure quantifiable benefits, such as cost reductions or avoidance, achieved as a result of operating information systems to help prevent and detect improper payments
Identifying opportunities to address barriers that limit States’ participation in collaborative audits for Medicaid
Taking immediate steps to assess and improve data available for Medicaid program oversight
Read the full letter here.