Medicaid provides coverage and healthcare services with federal and state funding to 72.2 million people in the Unites States. This coverage is for those with limited income and resources i.e., low-income adults, children, pregnant women, elderly adults, and people with disabilities. Medicaid is administered by the “States” under federal requirements and guidelines. Like the Medicare program, we see fraud, waste, and abuse within the Medicaid program as well.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) released their annual Medicare Fraud Control Units FY2020 Annual Report and there are some facts and figures worth mentioning to those professionals in Health Information Management (HIM), Clinical Documentation Improvement (CDI), Revenue Cycle and Compliance. The Social Security Act requires each state to operate a Medicaid Fraud Control Units (MFCU). The primary function of MFCU is to investigate and prosecute Medicaid provider fraud and patient abuse and neglect. There are 53 MFCU and they operate in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The OIG has oversight responsibility for the MFCU and helps them to achieve their goals.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on MFCU staff operations and court proceedings, the work of the MFCU did result in 1,017 convictions in 2020. Of those convictions, there were 774 for fraud and 243 for patient abuse of neglect. Some other facts for 202 include:
- 928 Individuals or entities excluded from federally funded healthcare programs
- 1 Billion dollars recovered
- $173 Criminal Recoveries
- $855 Civil Recoveries
In the area of “fraud” the MFCU reported a variety of healthcare settings in the 2020 report (this is not an all-inclusive list):
Lab (Radiology and Physiology)
Pain Management Clinic
Suppliers of Durable Medical Equipment
Nurse Aide (CNA)
Medical Device Manufacturer
Personal Care Services Agency
Emergency Medical Technician Paramedic
Unlicensed Mental Health Counselor
The provider types identified by the MFCU for “fraud” include the following (this is not an all-inclusive list):
Clinical Social Worker
Nurse (LPN, RN)
Therapist (Non-Mental Health, PT, ST, OT, or RT)
According to the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, a MFCU reviews complaints of abuse or neglect in nursing home and board and care facilities. They may also review complaints of the misappropriation of patients’ private funds in nursing homes. The MFCU is also charged with investigating fraud in the administration of the program and for providing for the collection or referral for collection to the single state agency and overpayments it identifies in carrying on its activities. For more information about the Medicaid program itself visit the following website: Medicaid | Medicaid
Although we may not hear as much in the news about Medicaid fraud or even discuss it within our work environment, it does occur, this OIG report really proves that. Having a broad scope of coding audits and education that includes Medicaid in addition to Medicare and other payers is essential. Working closely with Compliance and Revenue Cycle leadership to ensure the proper checks and balances are in place including written policies and procedures is vital. In addition, discuss Medicaid compliance and fraud issues with ancillary department leaders. Keeping our eyes and ears open for potential healthcare fraud and reporting it to our compliance or internal audit department is our professional responsibility.
Visit the following link to read more details on the OIG report: Medicaid Fraud Control Units Fiscal Year 2020 Annual Report_OEI-09-21-00120 (hhs.gov)
Written by Gloryanne Bryant, RHIA, CDIP, CCS, CCDS, AHIMA Approved ICD-10-CM/PCS Trainer
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