Report: Medicare Paid Billions in Suspect Claims

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The government has paid more than $47 billion in questionable Medicare claims in the past year, according to federal reports obtained by the Associated Press.

One of the biggest misuse of funds was paying out money to patients for care that has little to do with their health problem.
    
President Obama is expected to announce new efforts to cut back on Medicare fraud this week, including a government-wide Web site that will focus on providing a fuller account of health care spending and improper payments made by various agencies.

The federal report set a target of reducing improper payments by 9.5 percent by 2010. This would create a savings of nearly $9.7 billion.

Government officials said they want to increase training among Medicare providers to reduce documentation errors. Officials have also stated that the proposed health care reform bill would increase the number of background checks on people applying for Medicare, as well as implement strict penalties for false claims.

However, the federal report show efforts to fix the problem have shown little progress so far.

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