Letters to the Editor

Medicare fraud hurts honest healthcare providers

Kudos to the Miami Herald and investigative reporter Jay Weaver on the recent editorial and stories about Medicare fraud in Florida’s most populous county.

Weaver’s reporting deservedly shines the spotlight on the bad actors who have bilked the Medicare program and defrauded taxpayers. What’s unfortunate is the black eye left on the home health industry. The U.S. government has taken several steps in to address Medicare fraud. In 2009, Medicare stationed a Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team in Miami-Dade, one of nine regions nationwide. In addition to more aggressive auditing tactics and costly and burdensome regulations, providers are tightening our belts due to annual reimbursement cuts even as seniors leave hospitals sicker and quicker.

Weeding out bad actors is in taxpayers’ best interest. To achieve this, better collaboration between policy makers, law enforcement, health industry professionals and beneficiaries, is critical. Meantime, hardworking, honest healthcare providers stand ready to provide high-quality, cost-effective care for our ever-growing senior population.

If you suspect errors, fraud, or abuse when you use Medicare — or if someone tries to sell you a product or service you don’t need — report it by calling 800-HHS-TIPS or visit StopMedicareFraud.gov.

Nercy Radcliffe, CEO,

Providence Healthcare

Services, Miami