NEWS: Dallas Morning News: Congress Demands Answers on Health Care Fraud Following TX Hospital Chain Scandal

February 27, 2014

Reports of Stimulus Fraud in Texas Spur Committee Investigation into Obama Administration’s Ability to Detect and Prevent Fraud

Letters to CMS, HHS Inspector General Raise Concerns about Screening Process for Facilities Receiving Federal Funds

In the ongoing effort to protect taxpayer dollars, Energy and Commerce Committee leaders on Wednesday sent letters to the Obama administration regarding steps taken to prevent and detect fraud. The leaders write in the letter to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner and Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General Daniel Levinson that the committee is “investigating the adequacy of CMS screening of providers receiving Medicare payments or other kinds of federal funds administered by CMS.” The leaders cite a recent case in Texas where hospitals continued to receive federal stimulus funding “despite warnings that reached several agencies for more than four years of patient-care threats and allegations of fraud.” Full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Vice Chairman of the Health and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittees Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), and Chairman Emeritus Joe Barton (R-TX) requested that both CMS and the HHS IG provide documents explaining CMS’ screening process and what steps can and are being taken to prevent fraud. The letters can be found online here.

“We know the situation is so bad in Dallas, that the Obama administration is still sending in cash despite the alarm bells sounding that they are literally being robbed. Protecting both patients and taxpayer dollars from harmful or fraudulent spending is a top priority, and the administration has got to do better. Given these reports, we have every reason to be concerned about how facilities are being screened and what processes the administration has to detect and prevent fraud,” commented Burgess. “It is my hope that the administration will finally work with this committee in our continued, thoughtful oversight to prevent the wrongful expenditure of taxpayer dollars.”  

February 27, 2013

Congress Demands Answers on Health Care Fraud Following TX Hospital Chain Scandal

A congressional panel is demanding answers from federal health officials by March 12 about what steps they are taking to prevent fraud after a Texas hospital chain allegedly fleeced a stimulus program on its way to amassing $18 million.

On Wednesday, top-ranking members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce notified the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, that they were “investigating the adequacy of CMS screening” of health-care providers.

“The case in Texas raises broader questions about CMS’ ability to detect fraud in its programs,” according to a letter sent to the agency and the HHS inspector general’s office.

The letter refers to the massive infusion of stimulus funds – intended to help modernize medical records – into Dr. Tariq Mahmood’s now-defunct rural hospital chain. The money flowed despite a long record of patient safety violations and allegations of billing fraud. And it flowed even though the bulk of funds were never used on a record system, employees told us. …

Read the complete story online here.