Sen. Nelson backs plan to boost MediCare whistle-blower reward to $9.9M

Announced in April, the draft rule change also seeks to speed up payments to whistle-blowers who have helped the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to recoup almost $15 million in fraudulent Medicare funds since 2010.

In a letter to CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner, Nelson urged the agency to move forward with plans to Medicare Incentives Reward Program as a means to increase participation.

Similar reward programs at the Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission have been criticized of late following reports of slow and “paltry” payments to individuals who have helped to expose fraud.

“Such failings convey the impression that the government does not intend to meet its stated obligations to reward those informants who come forward in good faith with reliable information used to recover taxpayer monies,” Nelson wrote.

Under the proposed changes, the agency estimates it would be able to recover as much as $24.5 million annually.