Ways and Means health leaders introduce tougher fraud prevention measures

The chairman and ranking member of the House Ways and Means health subcommittee introduced legislation Wednesday that would allow the Department of Health and Human Services to ban corporate executives from doing business with Medicare if their companies were convicted of fraud, even if the conviction takes place after their departure.

The bill, introduced by Reps. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) and Wally Herger (R-Calif.), would also give the HHS Office of the Inspector General the ability to exclude parent companies that may be committing fraud through shell companies.  

The OIG's chief counsel asked for the two changes during a hearing on Medicare fraud in June, according to the bill's sponsors.

"This legislation gives the Office of Inspector General the authority to go after crooked executives and corporations that continue to bilk Medicare," Stark said in a statement. "Stopping these swindlers will save taxpayer money and protect Medicare beneficiaries. I appreciate the OIG making this request for more authority, and thank my Democratic and Republican colleagues, especially Mr. Herger, for working together to address this issue."