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ProPublica: Lack of Government Oversight, Coordination Puts Medicare Patients at Risk

Posted in Politics, Public Health

One recent article by ProPublica, a prominent investigative journalism outlet, chronicles a lack of proper government oversight and coordination that “can expose Medicare recipients to potentially unsafe medical treatment and keeps tax dollars flowing to unworthy providers”.

The problem is this: some doctors who are terminated from Medicaid practice due to “inappropriate drug choices [that] endanger patients” and “unchecked devotion to name-brand drugs, instead of generics,” (a practice which unnecessarily bleeds the healthcare system of taxpayer dollars) are still allowed to prescribe drugs under Medicare Part D.

That is, doctors who have been deemed unfit to prescribe medication to certain patients remain allowed to do so for others.

To curb this, US Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) “asked each state Medicaid program to explain its process for terminating doctors and notifying Medicare once it does so” and “sent a letter Friday to Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, asking what the agency is doing about such doctors.”

While this problem continues to exist, Jonathan Blum (Principal Deputy Administrator for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) remains “committed to making improvements,” stating “‘We look forward to working with Congress and the HHS Inspector General to continue to protect beneficiaries and taxpayers from Medicare fraud, waste and abuse’”.

Hopefully, closing of loopholes such as this will bring down the total cost of healthcare moving forward.