By Elise Viebeck - 05/02/12 05:44 PM EDT
A powerful coalition of senators is asking for advice from healthcare providers on how to better fight Medicare and Medicaid fraud.
The bipartisan group, led by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and ranking member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), published an open letter to the healthcare community asking for "suggestions and solutions" to address waste, fraud and abuse in the systems.
The group noted that, between the two programs, fraud is estimated to cost at least $20 billion and up to $100 billion.
The letter highlighted payment integrity and enforcement as two areas that would benefit from "input."
"To date, numerous efforts have been made to reduce fraud, yielding a mixed record of successes and failures," the letter stated.
"Drawing on the collective wisdom and accumulated insights of thousands of professionals and individual experiences could offer a fresh perspective and potentially identify solutions that may have been overlooked or underutilized."
The effort includes Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) in addition to Baucus and Hatch.
It is addressed to "all interested stakeholders in the healthcare community," the letter stated, asking for "succinct and concrete" white papers by June 29.
"Together, we believe we can improve program integrity and be better stewards of taxpayer dollars," the senators wrote.