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Senate report criticizes Medicare’s handling of complaints

Physician Practice Advisor, March 8, 2006

Investigators for the Senate Finance Committee harshly criticized Medicare's process for investigating compaints, calling it "broken" and "no benefit to improving the overall quality" of medical care, according to a report by The Washington Post.

The ongoing Senate probe determined that the number of complaints investigated by Medicare is disproportionately low and called on federal officials to consider redesigning the program and re-bidding contracts.

In August, the Committee began investigating the Quality Improvement Organizations (QIO) that Medicare pays to work with hospitals, doctors, and nursing homes to improve care and investigate complaints. In a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the committee chairman, said the investigation raised "a number of concerns regarding questionable expenditures, board member and executive staff conflicts of interest, and the quality and effectiveness of QIO services."

Click here to read The Washington Post article.