Sen. Charles Grassley is at it again.
The Iowa Republican, long concerned with healthcare-related issues including transparency, waste and fraud, sent a strongly-worded letter last week to Dr. Donald Berwick, head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, and his boss Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services. Grassley wants answers on how CMS polices the contractors it uses to process Medicare claims and those charged with finding and eliminating fraud and waste.
Citing a 2004 lawsuit in Florida that resulted in a $445 million judgment against All-Med Billing Corp. and its owners, Grassley wrote that the case highlights the center’s inability to adequately monitor its contractors.
The case involved 49 durable medical equipment companies that submitted $250 million in Medicare claims through All-Med for medical equipment not ordered by a physician or not delivered to Medicare beneficiaries.
“I have been concerned and puzzled that CMS does not seem to examine its contractors’ role in enabling taxpayer dollars to be misused or wasted and to hold contractors accountable if they fail to carry out their responsibilities as expected,” Grassley wrote (PDF).
“The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is not holding contractors accountable when those contractors fail to carry out their responsibilities or fulfill contract terms,” Grassley said in prepared remarks. “The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services needs to do what it takes to make sure these contractors don’t waste taxpayer dollars.”