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Medicaid Fraud and Abuse: CMS's Commitment to Helping States Safeguard Program Dollars Is Limited

GAO-05-855T Published: Jun 28, 2005. Publicly Released: Jun 28, 2005.
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Today's hearing addresses fraud and abuse control in Medicaid, a program that provides health care coverage for eligible low-income individuals and is jointly financed by the federal government and the states. In fiscal year 2003, Medicaid covered nearly 54 million people and the program's benefit payments totaled roughly $261 billion, of which the federal share was about $153 billion. States are primarily responsible for ensuring appropriate payments to Medicaid providers through provider enrollment screening, claims review, overpayment recoveries, and case referrals. At the federal level, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is responsible for supporting and overseeing state fraud and abuse control activities. Last year, GAO reported that CMS had initiatives to assist states, but the dollar and staff resources allocated to oversight suggested that CMS's level of effort was disproportionately small relative to the risk of federal financial loss. Concerned about the stewardship of federal Medicaid funds, Congress has raised questions about CMS's commitment to Medicaid fraud and abuse control. This statement focuses on (1) the level of resources CMS currently applies to helping states prevent and detect fraud and abuse in the Medicaid program and (2) the implications of this level of support for CMS fraud and abuse control activities.

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Financial managementFraudHealth care programsInternal controlsMedicaidProgram abusesProgram managementRisk managementState-administered programsStrategic planning