Revenues from Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General audits and investigations for the the first half of fiscal 2014 are expected to drop almost $1 billion from the same period last year, bolstering previous revelations that dwindling federal funding for the agency could lead to less restrictive oversight in the year to come.
In its semiannual report to Congress released on Tuesday, the agency said it expects its recoveries for the first half of the year will total $3.1 billion, of which $2.8 billion will come from investigations and the rest from audits. The OIG recovered about $4 billion the first half of fiscal 2013.
The OIG announced earlier this spring that it planned to curtail its Medicare oversight activities by more than 20% this year because of funding cutbacks. Long-term care providers would welcome the move in light of what they believe to be excessive actions from the OIG and other watchdogs in recent years. Also, earlier this year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced a suspension of recovery audit contractor activity, pending new contracts.
The OIG semiannual report documented additional enforcement efforts during the first half of fiscal 2014, including 465 criminal actions against individuals or entities, 265 civil actions and the exclusion of 1,700 individuals and entities from participating in federal health care programs.