MIAMI (July 26, 2013)--Federal health officials Friday said they are banning certain types of Medicare and Medicaid providers in three high-fraud cities including Houston from enrolling in the programs for the next six months.
The moratoriums, which begin Tuesday, will target home health care providers in eight counties in the Miami and Chicago areas and all ambulance providers in eight counties in the Houston area, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said
The ban also will extend to Children's Health Insurance Program providers in the same areas.
The Houston area ban includes providers in Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery and
“CMS is using all available tools, including these moratoria, to combat fraud, waste and abuse in these vital health care programs,” Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said.
“While maintaining patients’ access to care, we are putting would-be fraudsters on notice that we will find and stop them before they can attempt to bill Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP.”
It's unclear how many providers will be shut out of the programs.
Top Senate Republicans criticized the agency in 2011 for not using moratoriums to combat an estimated $60 billion a year in Medicare fraud.