OIG: CMS Should Do More to Reduce Medicare Fraud

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General has called on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to take steps that officials believe would reduce fraud among Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans.

In its 2019 report, “Solutions to Reduce Fraud, Waste, and Abuse in HHS Programs: Top Unimplemented Recommendations” the OIG outlined its top recommendations to reduce fraud, abuse, and waste amount HHS programs, including Medicare.

This blog focuses on the recommendations for Part D and Advantage (also known as Part C) for this year. 

OIG Unimplemented Recommendations 

CMS should tighten its oversight for Part D payments for compounded topical drugs, which are often at risk for fraud, waste and abuse. The OIG report found that spending on compounded drugs increased by nearly 180% between 2010 and 2016. For its part, CMS has released a reminder memo of its policies for compounded topical drugs, but OIG officials believe more steps should be taken. 

– CMS should gather stronger, more consistent data from plan sponsors that includes information on the potential for fraud and abuse. By doing so, CMS oversight will improve to better detect and prevent fraud and other problems, the OIG says. Plans are not required to report potential fraud by pharmacies and providers to CMS – but they can by their own admission. Not as many do as the OIG would like, so it wants CMS to do a better job at data collecting. For its part, CMS has said it will start requiring plan sponsors to report their own data as well. 

– Medicare Advantage plans should be required by CMS to include ordering and referring provider identifiers in their encounter data. Encounter data is information submitted by health care providers, such as doctors and hospitals that documents both the clinical conditions they diagnose as well as the services and items delivered to beneficiaries to treat these conditions. Ordering and referring provider identifiers is not always required in encounter data and was often overlooked, the OIG says. Officials wants CMS to require Medicare Advantage plans to include ordering and referring provider identifiers from here on out.

Summary

With these recommendations, health plans should anticipate stricter regulations and guidance requiring reporting of potential fraud by network providers and updates to encounter reporting requirements. 

We Can Help

Tier 1 Pharmacy Consultants helps health plans navigate the often murky and confusing waters of CMS changes, regulations, and oversight. The rules change often, and it’s difficult for health plans to keep up, much less stay compliant. Our team can help. 

About Tier 1 

Tier 1 Pharmacy Consulting is a Denver, Colorado-based pharmacy benefit consulting firm offering customized services to healthcare plans that offer prescription drug benefits. Whether your health plan is big or small, Tier 1 offers strategic, cost-saving solutions that boost the plan’s overall value and help its members by providing high quality care.

Tier 1’s founder is a clinical pharmacist with more than a decade of experience in pharmacy benefit management. We are passionate about collaborating and developing effective strategies to improve health plan outcomes.

Tier 1 offers health plans a new perspective on how to manage their pharmacy benefit. Our team is made up of experts who strive to make effective plans even stronger and fill in any gaps due to a lack of time or resources.

Drop us a note at info@tieronepc.com. Let’s get connected.

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