Feds: Without more funds, we are cutting provider oversight

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Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-PA)
Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-PA)

Nursing providers could feel reduced heat from federal Medicare and Medicaid oversight activities — if an agency official's testimony is to be believed as more than just budget-request bluster.

Gloria Jarmon, deputy inspector general for audit services for the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Inspector General, said her agency plans to reduce oversight activities by 20% during fiscal 2014.

She made the comment during a House Ways & Means subcommittee hearing.

The proposed White House budget calls for a 6 percentage point increase, which would bring the total OIG budget to $75 million.

Any let-up from the OIG would follow the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' recent suspension of recovery audit contractor (RAC) activity until new contracts come out.

Providers were buoyed by the RAC suspension announcement and generally would welcome reduced OIG activity. They feel there is more than enough monitoring, if not too much, already in place.

Lawmakers on the subcommittee did not always agree. Some ripped CMS and OIG for being ineffectual. Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-PA) said the witnesses should be “embarrassed” by their organizations allowing $50 billion in improper payments.


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