OIG: Fraud recoveries drop to $2 billion in early 2017

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Bolstered by settlements from nursing home providers, federal health officials collected more than $2.04 billion in fraud and waste recoveries in the first half of fiscal year 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General said in a report to Congress.

The agency's semiannual report to lawmakers, released Thursday, showed the OIG recovered less from healthcare providers in 2017 than the $2.77 billion it collected in the first half of FY 2016. The OIG also racked up 468 criminal actions, 461 civil actions and 1,422 exclusions of individuals or groups that violated federal healthcare programs.

During the reporting period, the OIG also concluded investigations that resulted in more than $26.3 million in civil monetary penalties.

Among the investigations highlighted in the OIG's report is the $145 million October settlement between the government and Life Care Centers of America, to clear up allegations that the skilled nursing giant submitted unnecessary therapy claims.

The report also includes the OIG's findings that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services “two-midnight” rule left some Medicare beneficiaries with limited access to skilled nursing services, as well as an investigation that found Arizona didn't always verify nursing homes' corrections of deficiencies.

Click here to read the OIG's full Semiannual Report to Congress.