Surety Bonds for Home Health Agencies Makes OIG’s List of Top 25 Unimplemented Recommendations By: Markus P. Cicka, J.D., LL.M. (Health Law)

Tuesday, August 13th, 2019

The Solutions to Reduce Fraud, Waste, and Abuse in HHS Programs: OIG’s Top Recommendations is an annual publication of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General. In the July, 2019 edition, the OIG focused on the top 25 unimplemented recommendations that, in the OIG’s view, would most positively affect HHS programs in terms of cost savings, program effectiveness and efficiency, and public health and safety if implemented.

In the Recommendations, the OIG stated CMS should implement the statutory mandate requiring surety bonds for home health agencies that enroll in Medicare and consider implementing the requirement for other providers.

Key OIG Findings

According to the OIG, CMS could have recovered at least $39 million in uncollected overpayments between 2007 and 2011 if it had required home health agencies to obtain $50,000 in surety bonds.

Surety bonds could help protect Medicare against fraudulent home health agencies. OIG’s historical work has demonstrated that surety bonds would ensure that at least some of the money being dispersed for various services could be recovered.

The Recommendations can be found at https://oig.hhs.gov/reports-andpublications/compendium/files/compendium2019.pdf. Additional relevant reports can be found at https://oig.hhs.gov/oei/reports/oei-03-13-00630.pdf and https://oig.hhs.gov/oei/reports/oei-03-12-00070.pdf.

If you have questions about regulatory issues with your home health agency, you should contact your health care attorney.
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Markus P. Cicka, J.D., LL.M. (Health Law), is an attorney with the Health Care Group at Brown & Fortunato, P.C., a law firm based in Amarillo, Texas. Markus is based in St. Louis, Missouri. He represents pharmacies, infusion companies, home medical equipment companies, and other health care providers throughout the United States. He can be reached at 806-345-6366 or mcicka@bf-law.com.