GAO’s reports and testimonies give Congress, federal agencies, and the public timely, fact-based, non-partisan information that can improve government operations and save taxpayers billions of dollars.
What GAO Found Hospice care helps patients who are terminally ill maintain their quality of life. Most patients get hospice care at home, which typically includes use of controlled substances, including opioids such as oxycodone, to provide pain relief.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency that oversees Medicaid, estimated that improper payments in the federal-state Medicaid program were $21.9 billion in fiscal year 2011.
In 2009, GAO reported on doctor shopping in Medicaid, where individuals see several doctors and pharmacies, receiving more of a drug than was intended by any single physician. Questions have been raised about whether similar activity exists in Medicare Part D.
GAO has designated Medicare and Medicaid as high-risk programs, in part due to their susceptibility to improper payments--estimated to be about $70 billion in fiscal year 2010. Improper payments have many causes, such as submissions of duplicate claims or fraud, waste, and abuse.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)--the agency that administers Medicare--estimated that the program made about $700 million in improper payments for durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS) from April 1, 2005, through March 31, 2006.
There has been much debate about specialty hospitals--short-term acute care hospitals with physician owners or investors that primarily treat patients who have specific medical conditions or need surgical procedures--and the competitive effects they may have on general hospitals.