Wall Street Journal Sues for Access to Medicare Payment Info

Medicare fraud has finally been grabbing some attention now that tax revenue has decreased and the federal and state governments are in need of more money to pay their bills.

Medicare has paid out fraudulent claims that amount to $6 billion.  Medicare, the health insurance for American seniors, pays for medical doctor visits, hospital stays, some medical treatment programs, some prescription drugs, nursing home care for up to 100 days and skilled home health care visits.  Some of the common systems that a private company would create to control abuses were not in place for many Medicare programs.  In addition, the good ol' lobbyists are in full force for all of the companies profiting from Medicare and Medicaid to make sure donations are made to the right politicians and letters are written to keep the laws regulating Medicare and Medicaid services and their payment systems flowing.  They oddly, aren't raising the flag for more accountability as any CEO of a private company would be doing as a normal part of operations if they saw a flaw in their systems. 

Technology can monitor every move we make and there are many effective ways to set up systems so that all Medicare services and payments are efficiently monitored and accounted for with digital tracking and accountability programs.  Private pay home care companies effectively provide services in the home that are monitored with telephone and computer technology programs.  These computer programs enable the caregiver to be paid for the exact amount of hours worked and for the senior to be billed for the exact amount of hours worked.  The caregiver just calls in from a telephone and the info goes into a live web based software tracking program - cell phone tracking is also available.

Private companies can't over bill and under serve because they are efficiently tracking the service and seniors and their families wouldn't over pay (it is easier to get money from a Wall Street bank than an extra $10 from a 90-year old lady who is paying out of her own pocket).

It would be really cool to also track the time a senior is with a medical doctor - super easy to have a credit card type system where the senior swipes the card upon arrival and when they leave.  This would be par for the course for a private company - seems to make sense to have accountability for programs funded by our tax dollars, just as we would for a private company.

Check out the costs of nursing homes in your area as well as their performance and perhaps one of the positive aspects of the changes to health care will be more accountability systems put in place.

Good luck to the Wall Street Journal in their Freedom for Information act pursuit of the Medicare payments to doctors.  This is year 2011 and technology allows for easy accountability and could make a positive difference in money for health care being paid for actual health care and not to doctors nor companies looking for a free pay day.

Comments (1) -

  • Susan Wehr

    2/8/2011 11:25:00 PM | Reply

    I think anyone who is paid by public funds should be fine sharing their payments.  I would expect my doctor to feel comfortable sharing this information.

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