NEWS BRIEF

HHS to issue Medicare/Medicaid fraud disclosure guidelines

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in Washington, DC, announced in September it would soon issue new guidelines for its program aimed at setting up protocols for voluntary disclosure of Medicare and Medicaid fraud to the government, reports the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) in Englewood, CO. According to Lewis Morris, HHS assistant inspector general for legal affairs, the "new protocols will address audit methodology and reporting steps that providers must take to bring problems to the Inspector General’s attention."

The new protocols are expected within the next two months. "It is unclear, however, as to the effectiveness of such voluntary programs as providers are often reluctant to disclose such information out of fear of prosecution by the federal government. As a result, perhaps the most important aspect of the new guidelines will be how HHS addresses this issue of provider immunity in its final proposal," says the MGMA in a news release.