A Medicare cost saving program that is supposed to save about $187 million between 2006 and 2018 may not have saved anything.
Joel Willemssen, managing director of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), gave that assessment today in testimony presented at a hearing organized by the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee’s federal financial management subcommittee.
The subcommittee held the hearing to look at efforts to protect the integrity of the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that runs Medicare, started an Integrated Data Repository (IDR) program and a One PI program in 2006.
The IDR program was supposed to create a single source of Medicare and Medicaid claim data, and the One PI program was supposed to create a centralized portal for analyzing the data and looking for signs of fraudulent billing. CMS officials wanted analysts to be able to look to see, for example, when Medicare enrollees had apparently used ambulance services without using any other type of medical care.
CMS hired contractors to develop the tools and was supposed to have tools in place by 2009.
Parts of the IDR system have been in place since 2006, but the repository is still incomplete, Willemssen said, according to a written version of his remarks provided by the GAO.
“Program officials have not defined plans and reliable schedules for incorporating the additional data into IDR that are needed to support the agency’s program integrity goals,” Willemssen said