With health care fraud costing the United States an estimated $60 billion per year, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius was in Boston on Thursday to announce the government’s plans to implement tools similar to the ones banks use to red flag credit card fraud.
“We want to stay ahead of the criminals rather than doing the old pay and chase routine,” Sebelius said during a forum at UMass Boston.
By law, the government must pay companies that supply Medicare patients with products a month after the claims are submitted — making it nearly impossible to catch fraudulent claims. A program piloting the fraud-flagging technology recently caught two “false-front” Houston companies claiming they supplied items such as scooters to senior citizens.
“In New England these schemes have reached crisis proportions,” said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who also attended the forum. “We are fighting back in bold, innovative and creative ways.”