Overhaul Proposed For Decades-Old Medicare Fraud Rules

Associated Press
October 09, 2019 - 7:04 am

FILE - In this Sept. 11, 2019, file photo, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar speaks with reporters outside of the White House in Washington. The Trump administration Wednesday, Oct. 9, proposed to overhaul decades-old Medicare rules originally meant to deter fraud and abuse, but now seen as a roadblock to coordinating better care for patients. The rules under revision were intended to counter self-dealing, as well as financial kickbacks among service providers such as hospitals, clinics and doctors. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's administration is proposing to overhaul decades-old Medicare rules originally meant to deter fraud and abuse but now seen as a roadblock to coordinating care for patients.

The rules at issue were intended to counter self-dealing and kickbacks disguised as legitimate payments among service providers such as hospitals, clinics and doctors.

Officials say those rules are now seen as an obstacle because Medicare has put a premium on better coordination among care providers and the complex regulations can have a chilling effect on hospitals and doctors working together.

Wednesday's announcement starts a rule-making process expected to take months.

The health care industry has billions of dollars at stake.

Officials say patients will ultimately benefit because the goal is to keep them healthy by avoiding foreseeable problems after hospitalization.