Chen ZX, Hohmann L, Banjara B, Zhao Y, Diggs K, Westrick SC. Recommendations to protect patients and health care practices from Medicare and Medicaid fraud. J Am Pharm Assoc. 2020 Nov;60(6):e60-5. doi: 10.1016/j.japh.2020.05.011

Fraud is defined as knowingly submitting, or causing to be submitted, false claims or making misrepresentations of a fact to obtain a federal health care payment for which no entitlement would otherwise exist. In today's health care environment, Medicare and Medicaid fraud is not uncommon. The negative impact of fraud is vast because it diverts resources meant to care for patients in need to the benefit of fraudsters. Fraud increases the overall costs for vital health care services and can potentially be harmful to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. The objectives of this commentary are to describe the types and trends of Medicare and Medicaid fraud that are committed, and provide recommendations to protect patients and health care practices. Specifically, this article identifies types of Medicare and Medicaid fraud at beneficiary (patient) and provider level, and it can be intentional or unintentional. This article also describes the 3 primary laws that prohibit fraud and gives fraud case examples relevant to each law, including the False Claims Act, Anti-Kickback Statute, and the Stark Law. We also discuss currently trending and emerging areas, including opioid and pharmacogenetic testing; both have experienced heavier and higher-profile instances of fraud in today's health care landscape. Last, the article summarizes detection methods and recommendations for health care providers and patients to protect themselves against fraud. Recommended strategies to combat fraud are discussed at policy, practice, and grassroots levels. Health care practitioners, including pharmacists, can use these strategies to protect themselves and their patients from becoming victims of fraud or unknowingly committing fraud.

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