GAO cites fraud in Medicare in-home services billings

The Government Accountability Office reports fraud and abuse helped boost Medicare spending on home health services 44% over five years as some providers exaggerated patients’ medical conditions and others billed for unnecessary services or care they did not provide. The GAO reviewed home care payments from 2002 to 2006, when spending reached $13 billion. The number of Medicare enrollees using in-home services rose 17% during that period to 2.8 million. The study recommends that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) consider criminal background checks on home health operators and draft new rules to remove problem providers more easily.

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