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This site is the inspiration of a former reporter/photographer for one of New England's largest daily newspapers and for various magazines. The intent is to direct readers to interesting political articles, and we urge you to visit the source sites. Any comments may be noted on site or directed to KarisChaf at gmail.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Medicare paid millions to prisoners -- By Phillip Swarts, The Washington Times

 IG report finds lack of oversight for payments

Food stamps. Free meals. Cable TV. Unemployment and disability benefits. And now prescription drugs.

It's a good time to be in prison, where inmates are mistakenly receiving tens of millions of dollars in benefits at taxpayer expense.

The latest folly comes compliments of Medicare, which gave such poor oversight to its prescription coverage that it allowed $11.7 million in drug benefits to go to inmates from 2006 to 2010, according a report released Monday by the Health and Human Services inspector general.

"Individuals who are incarcerated in correctional facilities ... are generally not eligible for federal health care benefits," the agency's internal watchdog said in a report that blamed officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for poor management.

Investigators found that medical companies that gave drugs to inmates were improperly allowed to claim Medicare reimbursements because CMS lacked the safeguards necessary to screen out prisoners, and did not supply the medical companies the information needed to check for themselves.

The revelation was made a year after the same inspector general found that Medicare inappropriately paid $33.6 million to health care providers to cover costs associated with medical treatment for inmates.

CMS officials acknowledged the problem but said their accounting is so disorganized that they don't even have a way to recoup the drug benefits they have misspent.

An audit last fall by the inspector general of the Social Security Administration found more problems with prisoners receiving taxpayer dollars. In a sampling of 100 Social Security disability recipients, one out of four had been receiving the benefit — wrongfully — while incarcerated.

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