House bill aims to combat Medicare fraud

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Sept. 27, 2010

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Companies convicted of fraud would have a tougher time participating in the Medicare program if bipartisan legislation that passed the House is signed into law. Reps. Pete Stark (D, Calif.) and Wally Herger (R, Calif.), the chair and ranking member of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, announced Sept. 22 that the "Strengthening Medicare Anti-Fraud Measures Act of 2010" passed by a voice vote and awaits action in the Senate.

The legislation expands the Office of Inspector General's authority, allowing it to ban corporate executives from doing business with Medicare if their companies were convicted of fraud. The OIG also could exclude parent companies that may be committing fraud through shell companies.

"This legislation gives the OIG the authority to go after crooked executives and corporations that continue to bilk Medicare," Stark said. "Stopping these swindlers will save taxpayer money and protect Medicare beneficiaries."

The proposed legislation gives the OIG greater authority to attack loopholes, lawmakers said. For example, under current law, executives from companies who are convicted of fraud can be excluded from Medicare. But if the executive has left the company by the time of conviction, he or she cannot be barred from federal health programs. Under the legislation, the executive would be barred from participating no matter what company he or she worked for.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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