U.S. Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL) today joined with U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) on an effort to require all Medicare and Medicaid provider payments to be made through direct deposit at federally-insured banking institutions. If signed into law, this measure will make it easier to track providers engaged in fraud thereby dramatically reducing the estimated loss of more than $60 billion every year.
"Each year, criminals take advantage of our country's Medicare and Medicaid programs that pay for care for tens-of-millions of seniors and disabled persons. This effort will allow law enforcement to more quickly identify and track Medicare and Medicaid payments to fraudulent providers," said Martinez, lead Republican on the Special Committee on Aging. "This effort to bring better transparency to all who provide Medicare and Medicaid services will help protect taxpayer dollars and the solvency of our health care entitlement programs."
"As a former prosecutor, I saw firsthand how crooks cheated the health care system and stole money that should have been used to provide care for those who need it most - our seniors and most vulnerable citizens," said Klobuchar. "This legislation can save taxpayer dollars as well as the valuable time and resources of our law enforcement officials."
The effort Martinez is helping to usher through Congress is known as the Improving Medicare and Medicaid Policy for Reimbursements through Oversight and Efficiency or "IMPROVE" act. Earlier this year, Senator Martinez introduced two other measures aimed at fighting waste, fraud, and abuse within our health care entitlement programs. The Seniors and Taxpayers Obligation Protection or "STOP" act will create Medicare fraud prevention and detection systems designed to protect seniors and doctors from identity theft, keep criminals from becoming Medicare providers, and strengthen data mining and matching to catch criminals engaged in Medicare fraud. The Medicaid Accountability through Transparency or "MAT" act will provide transparency in billing for services and medical equipment by requiring the Department of Health and Human Services to disclose the Medicaid payment data it already collects on a public-accessible Web site.