Healthcare Law -- Ethics & Policy
Memo to ABC Hospital Board of Directors: How to develop strategies to help mitigate abuse and fraud within our organization by understanding fraud and abuse issues.
The Department of Health and Human Services has provided a great deal of good information for healthcare professionals and the public in terms of ways to avoid and/or deal with fraud and abuse. This document reflects the ways in which this hospital can be on the lookout for fraud and abuse when it comes to Medicare. This document will also explain the difference between fraud and abuse in the Medicare system.
Typically Medicare fraud means a person in this hospital -- or a doctor affiliated with this hospital contractually -- would knowingly submit false statements or somehow misrepresent what his or her services actually were, in an attempt to cheat the federal government. Also a healthcare person could solicit, pay and/or accept remuneration in order to reward a person who has, through fraud, been reimbursed...
We need to develop strategies -- using the best minds and the strong leadership from senior staff -- to not only be aware of Medicare fraud, but to make sure we prevent it happening.
It is also very important to remember that anyone can commit healthcare fraud. So watchfulness is an absolute imperative. If anyone suspects fraud or notices something suspicious occurring, a red siren should go off in that person's head -- if, that is, leadership at this hospital has properly trained staff.
Examples of Medicare fraud include: a) "Knowingly billing for services not furnished, supplies not provided, or both, including falsifying records…" that reflect the bogus delivery of services and items, or appointments that a patient did not keep; and b) "Knowingly billing for services" that were higher in terms of the level of complexity than the service that was actually provided or documented in the patient's files (H&HS).
Medicare abuse is similar to Medicare fraud, with several distinct differences. Medicare abuse includes practices that "are not consistent with the goals of giving patients "medically necessary" services that use "professionally recognized standards that are priced fairly" (H&HS). Typically, Medicare abuse includes the following:…
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