Senators Approve of Independence for Inspector General’s in Virgin Islands

Posted on November24, 2015
Members of the Committee on Government Services, Consumer and Veterans Affairs gathered on November 18th, 2015 to discuss multiple measures, including bill no. 31-0014, sponsored by Senator Clifford Graham and co-sponsored by Senators Sammuel Sanes and Nereida Rivera-O’Reilly, that aims to add more legitimacy to the Office of the Inspector General by untying it from the executive branch. This bill was brought forward because the IG's budget in the Virgin Islands has dwindled down to $2 million for fiscal year…

HHS Office of Inspector General’s New Security Measures for 2016

Posted on November20, 2015
The HHS' Office of Inspector General (OIG) realizes that there is a growing threat to the privacy of personal health information. They wanted to effectively protect this information so they created new security measures and revised others. All of these changes have been worked into their plan for 2016. The plan, published last week, includes new controls of networked medical devices for hospitals and oversight of the security of EHRs as well as revised controls to ensure the security of…

Home-Health Agency Owners Indicted For Stealing $13 Million From Medicare

Posted on November12, 2015
The owners, the director of nursing of patient recruiters of a home-health agency based in Houston were arrested this morning for their alleged roles in conspiracies to defraud Medicare, to pay illegal healthcare kickbacks and to commit money laundering.  The defendants were charged in an indictment unsealed on November 10, 2015. According to the indictment, Ebong Tilong, 51, and Marie Neba, 51, both of Sugar Land, Texas, used the Texas-based, home-health agency that they owned to bill Medicare for home-health services…
Read more at eNews Park Forest

U.S. Special Inspector Reported: The Pentagon Spent $43 Million on $500,000 Gas Station in Afghanistan

Posted on November02, 2015
The Pentagon “charged the American taxpayers $43 million for what is likely to be the world’s most expensive gas station,” said John Sopko, head of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, a congressionally mandated body. The amount was spent between 2011 and 2014 on construction and initial implementation of the station. The gas station in Sheberghan, Afghanistan opened in 2012 and was created to show that compressed natural gas could be used in Afghanistan in cars effectively. However, the…

Millenium Health Settles for $256 Million, Enters Corporate Ingetrity Agreement with DHHS OIG

Posted on October22, 2015
The government’s case—which emerged from a series of whistleblower suits—alleges Millennium provided unnecessary tests from 2008 through this May. The government says the company encouraged doctors to order broad ranges of tests—which add up to bigger payments—rather than tailoring test orders to individual patients. Millennium Health agreed to pay $256 million to resolve government allegations that it billed Medicare for unnecessary tests. As part of the settlement, the company has entered into a corporate-integrity agreement with the Department of Health…

USDA OIG: Agency Spent $6.2M On Vehicles That Weren’t Necessary

Posted on September17, 2015
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) spent $6.2 million on cars the agency does not need, according to a new audit by the Office of Inspector General (OIG). The OIG determined that 1,133 vehicles were hardly used. The audit also identified 5,703 vehicles that were driven less than 5,000 miles over the course of the year. Based on a sample of the vehicles it identified, the OIG estimated approximately half were unnecessary to the agency. Getting rid of the 3,076…

USPS OIG Concerned About Quantity of Delayed Mail

Posted on August17, 2015
The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General released an alert to address the “timeliness of mail processing.” The USPS has been consolidating facilities to save money and many critics were concerned about the impact on mail delivery times. The OIG has ramped up reviews to address these concerns. The OIG found that “in the first 6 months of 2015, delayed processing increased by about 494 million mail pieces (a 48% increase), as compared to the same period last year.”…

DHHS OIG: Banned Medicaid Providers Move to Other States to Stay in Business

Posted on August06, 2015
Medical providers banned from a Medicaid program in one state are able to participate in another state’s program, flouting regulations that are designed to stop such practices. A study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found that about half of the states were unable to terminate improperly enrolled providers that were part of privately run Medicaid managed-care programs. The report from the federal auditor found that of the 1,539 healthcare providers…

Justice Department IG Investigates Benefits Given to Informants

Posted on July28, 2015
The Justice Department Office of Inspector General investigated the controls used when the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) paid informants. Inspector General Michael Horowitz's office reported drug traffickers who cooperated with federal investigators "were under criminal investigation by other authorities." Another problem uncovered was the ability of some of the informants or dependents to receive workers' compensation benefits with only "questionable qualifications." The investigation found that there was no formal review of informants and many continued in criminal activity. "A committee…

New Bill Could Help U.S. Postal Service

Posted on July14, 2015
Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) sponsored a new bill that will help the U.S. Postal Service "meet the needs of rural customers." A recent report by the U.S. Postal Service Inspector General found that "the Postal Service in North Dakota rarely met national service standards." The main complaint from the report is that rural carriers are being overworked due to cutbacks. The new bill proposes guaranteed six-days of delivery per week, as well as maintaining the current processing plants in North…