HHS increases rewards for reporting fraud
WASHINGTON – The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has proposed increasing to $9.9 million the rewards paid to Medicare beneficiaries and others whose tips about suspected fraud lead to the recovery of funds, according to a press release. The rewards are part of an proposed expansion for the Senior Medicare Patrol Program, which is designed to educate beneficiaries on how to prevent, detect and report Medicare fraud and abuse. “Today’s announcement is a signal to Medicare beneficiaries and caregivers, who are on the frontlines of this fight, that they are critical partners in helping protect taxpayer dollars,” stated Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of HHS. Under the proposed changes, a person that provides specific information leading to the recovery of funds may be eligible to receive a reward of 15% of the amount recovered, the release noted. The changes are modeled on an IRS program that has returned $2 billion in fraud since 2003.