By JP Ellison –
Today Attorney General Eric Holder and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the creation of a new interagency effort, the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), to combat healthcare fraud. Medicare appears to be the primary focus of the initiative, but both Medicare and Medicaid were mentioned in the officials' prepared remarks.
The HEAT initiative builds on existing efforts within each agency. According to the announcement, HEAT, as its full name suggests, will have both prevention and enforcement aspects.
The announcement also notes that President Obama's budget for 2010 calls for $311 million to strengthen program integrity activities within the Medicare and Medicaid programs, a 50% increase over 2009 levels.