Protecting the Integrity of Medicare Act (PIMA) of 2015 was introduced by Health Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Ranking Member Jim McDermott (D-WA). The bill has passed the approval of the Ways and Means Committee and is now awaiting introduction to the floor. Currently, the act has 31 co-sponsors – 20 Republicans and 11 Democrats. PIMA was introduced to reduce fraud, waste, and abuse in Medicare. The act will accomplish this through a number of common sense reforms. Senator Brady remarked: “Too many seniors are either personally harmed by identity theft or negatively affected by rising health care costs due to correctable issues. 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.”
The act would give Medicare the tools to fight the approximately $60 billion in fraud and abuse each year. The bill would take steps to protect seniors, taxpayers, and the Medicare program, including:
- Removing Social Security numbers from Medicare cards;
- Reducing unnecessary paperwork for employers;
- Increasing outreach and education for providers;
- Allowing beneficiaries to receive an electronic Medicare summary notice;
- Expanding on who can record the in-person encounter required for Medicare durable medical equipment prescriptions to include physician assistants and nurse practitioners;
- Changing the physician-hospital gainsharing program (loosen restrictions); and
- Requiring home health agencies to obtain a minimum $50,000 surety bond as a condition to participate in the Medicare Program.
The Protecting the Integrity of Medicare Act will combine a number of bipartisan bill proposals that will make a positive change to the Medicare program, prevent harm to seniors, as well as fight the additional cost to taxpayers of fraud, waste, and abuse.
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