HCFA launches Medicare fraud Web site

The Health Care Financing Administration's new Medicare Web site (www.medicare.gov), announced last month by Vice President Al Gore, includes a section designed to educate Medicare beneficiaries about fraud and abuse issues.

The site contains a brief overview of Medicare fraud, followed by instructions on how beneficiaries can report suspected fraud. It also advises beneficiaries to be suspicious of the following types of providers:

- Home health providers who offer non-medical transportation services or housekeeping as Medicare approved services.

- Physicians who bill Medicare for telephone calls, conferences with the family, or scheduled but not kept appointments.

- Physicians who bill Medicare for routine check-ups.

- Ambulance companies that bill Medicare for routine trips to a doctor’s office.

- Physicians who give the wrong diagnosis on the claim form so Medicare will pay.

- Ambulance companies that bill for trips which are not emergency in nature.

- Home health providers that bill for patients who are not confined to the home.

- Home health providers that bill for Medicare patients who still drive an automobile.

- Suppliers that bill Medicare for medical equipment for beneficiaries in nursing home.

- Hospital providers that bill Medicare for tests beneficiaries received as an inpatient or within 72 hours.