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Committee Passes Bipartisan Brady Bill to Strengthen Medicare and Prevent Fraud, Waste, and Abuse in the Program

Brady: “Too many seniors are either personally harmed by identity theft or negatively affected by rising health care costs as a result of fraud, waste, and abuse within Medicare”

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Washington, February 26, 2015 | comments
Today, the House Committee on Ways & Means passed several important bills to protect and strengthen Medicare, including Health Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Ranking Member Jim McDermott’s (D-WA) Protecting the Integrity of Medicare Act (PIMA) of 2015 (H.R. 1021).
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Watch the video from the hearing by clicking here.

Today, the House Committee on Ways & Means passed several important bills to protect and strengthen Medicare, including Health Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Ranking Member Jim McDermott’s (D-WA) Protecting the Integrity of Medicare Act (PIMA) of 2015 (H.R. 1021).

The bill reduces Medicare fraud, waste, and abuse by making a number of common sense reforms such as removing Social Security numbers from Medicare cards, better educating both Medicare providers and contractors, and eliminating unnecessary paperwork for employers.

“Too many seniors are either personally harmed by identity theft or negatively affected by rising health care costs due to correctable issues,” Chairman Brady said. “That’s why we brought together in one bill a number of good ideas previously introduced by members of our Committee – such as removing Social Security numbers from Medicare cards as fellow Texan Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Sam Johnson has championed.”

“We applaud Mr. Brady’s efforts in PIMA to ensure seniors are protected from fraud,” added James L. Martin, Chairman of the 60 Plus Association. “By making commonsense changes, like removing Social Security numbers from Medicare cards, the government can protect seniors from identity theft and preserve Medicare dollars from being stolen by fraudsters.”

PIMA also increases outreach and education for Medicare providers, expands medical documentation responsibilities to physicians’ assistants and nurse practitioners, provides the option for electronic Medicare bill summaries, allowing for the elimination of wasteful restrictions, requiring surety bonds for home health agencies who participate in Medicare and repealing a provision requiring unnecessary paperwork burdening certain employers.

“PIMA gives the Medicare program the tools to fight the $60 billion in fraud and abuse a year which is driving up costs for seniors and taxpayers. We urge the House and Senate to act quickly on this important legislation,” said National Coalition on Health Care (NCHC) President and CEO John Rother. 

The Committee also passed bills requiring Medicare to use binding competitive bidding and licensure in the purchase of durable medical equipment, and requiring hospitals to provide notification to patients of their observation or inpatient status.

Finally, the Committee passed the Electronic Health Fairness Act of 2015. “The physician partners at the Memorial Hermann Surgery Center Woodlands Parkway applaud committee passage of HR 887, The Electronic Fairness Act of 2015 which will exempt the patient encounters that take place in our ambulatory surgery centers (ASC) and will not be counted toward meaningful use requirements for our physician partners,” added Susan Olis, Administrator, Memorial Hermann Surgery Center Woodlands Parkway. “Until there are requirements that ASCs use Electronic Health Records (EHR) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) develops a certification program specifically for the ambulatory surgery setting, we share the belief these members of Congress have: the physician should not be penalized.”

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