Issa rips CMS for ‘politicking’ on Medicare fraud

House Oversight Chairman Rep. Darrell Isa (R-Cali.) scolded the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Tuesday for failing to provide an update to Congress on a program aimed at reducing Medicare fraud.

“I’m deeply concerned reports have been done but haven’t been released,” Issa said. “This is the politicking of releases.” 

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Under the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, CMS is required to release an annual report on progress made by its Fraud Prevention System, which uses predictive computer analysis to stop medical claims at the highest risk for fraud. Lawmakers say the report is now months overdue.

Issa warned Shantanu Agrawal, director of the Center for Program Integrity at CMS, that the committee has the authority to compel the agency to release the report.

The chairman said the report could reveal how effectively CMS is preventing Medicare fraud, which could help reduce the number of post-payment fraud cases.

Agrawal acknowledged there was a draft of the report but said the agency was still working with the Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General to finalize it.

Subcommittee chairman Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.) also pushed Agrawal about when the report would be released and asked if it would be weeks, months or years.

Initially Agrawal would not commit to a timeframe, saying CMS was not trying to hold up the report but was merely working with HHS OIG to iron out the kinks.

But after subcommittee ranking member Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Cali.) stepped in and berated Agrawal for not giving a straight answer, he said the agency would try to release the report in the next month or two.