Teach­ing about fraud, abuse

Modern Healthcare - - Opinions Letters -

Iread with in­ter­est the ar­ti­cle head­lined “Lessons in fraud, abuse,” (Oct. 25, p. 10) con­cern­ing our re­port on fraud and abuse train­ing in med­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion, as well as the re­ac­tion of pro­fes­sors and lead­ers of res­i­dency pro­grams. Our study found that 44% of med­i­cal schools and more than two-thirds of res­i­dency and fel­low­ship pro­grams pro­vided in­struc­tion on Medi­care and Med­i­caid fraud and abuse laws.

Con­sis­tent with the study’s find­ings, those quoted in the ar­ti­cle sup­ported pro­vid­ing new physi­cians with ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion about fraud and abuse laws. They also sug­gested it might be more ef­fec­tive to teach this ma­te­rial dur­ing res­i­dency pro­grams, when the stu­dents are learn­ing the more prac­ti­cal as­pects of med­i­cal prac­tice. These in­sti­tu­tions expressed in­ter­est in guid­ance and in­for­ma­tion on these im­por­tant laws from HHS’ in­spec­tor gen­eral’s of­fice.

I am pleased to re­port that my of­fice has al­ready re­sponded. Last week we re­leased a book­let en­ti­tled A Roadmap for New Physi­cians: Avoid­ing Medi­care and Med­i­caid Fraud and Abuse. It is also posted on our web­site at the fol­low­ing In­ter­net ad­dress: oig.hhs.gov/fraud/physi­ciane­d­u­ca­tion.

Writ­ten for the busy med­i­cal stu­dent, res­i­dent or prac­tic­ing physi­cian, this book­let gives a con­cise sum­mary of the most im­por­tant fraud and abuse laws, in­cludes valu­able tips on iden­ti­fy­ing risk ar­eas, and of­fers sources of more in­for­ma­tion. The book­let can be help­ful to stu­dents and res­i­dents alike, and pro­vides an up-to-date over­view for prac­tic­ing physi­cians. We will also send copies of the book­let to deans of all med­i­cal schools and des­ig­nated in­sti­tu­tional of­fi­cials.

We will de­fer to the judg­ment of the med­i­cal schools and res­i­dency pro­grams re­gard­ing the best time to pro­vide this im­por­tant in­for­ma­tion. We are grat­i­fied by their com­mit­ment to the in­tegrity of the health­care sys­tem and their de­ter­mi­na­tion to help our next gen­er­a­tion of physi­cians un­der­stand these im­por­tant laws.

Daniel R. Levin­son HHS in­spec­tor gen­eral

Washington

Levin­son

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