Corporate Compliance

The OIG will audit for fraud and abuse in the wake of Hurricane Katrina

Compliance Monitor, October 5, 2005

It's no surprise to those involved in the compliance field: The wake of Hurricane Katrina has created an enormous opportunity for fraud, waste, and abuse.

Joseph E. Vengrin, deputy inspector general for audit services and Michael E. Little, deputy inspector general for investigations for the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) spoke about this potential when they testified before members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Sept. 28.

During their testimony, Vengrin and Little outlined the OIG's plan for mitigating potential fraud and abuse. They spelled out that HHS has relaxed many system controls to allow victims access to benefits without the usual documentation requirements.

To monitor these areas for fraud and abuse, the OIG is developing special work plans to focus fraud-detection audits. The OIG further plans to investigate more than 20 reports of healthcare providers abandoning patients or engaging in activities resulting in patient deaths.

OIG agents have already been to affected areas to provide emergency assistance to providers impacted by the hurricane. OIG agents assisted in evacuation efforts and provided security assessments for several healthcare facilities.

    Click here to read "Testimony of Joseph E. Vengrin, Deputy Inspector General for Audit Services and Michael E. Little, Deputy Inspector General for Investigations Department of Health and Human Services," from Sept. 28, 2005.

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