CMS administrator nominee Andy Slavitt headed company at the center of billing fraud case

Andy Slavitt, nominated by President Obama in July to replace Marilyn Tavenner as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid administrator, was once a key player in one of the largest fraud settlements by a health insurance company, writes The Daily Caller.

Slavitt, who has served as acting administrator since Tavenner resigned in January, previously served as the chief executive officer (CEO) of Ingenix, a data analytics company owned by UnitedHealth Group that supplied reimbursement databases to health insurance companies. In 2008, then-New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced that the state was suing Ingenix for fraudulently calculating reimbursement rates and forcing beneficiaries to overpay as much as 30 percent for out-of-network providers. Prosecutors estimated the improper calculation impacted as many as 110 million Americans.

The American Medical Association jumped on board with a class-action suit, and less than a year later, UnitedHealth Group agreed to pay $350 million to settle claims that Ingenix used inaccurate pricing data. The insurer also cut a $50 million check to the state and agreed to replace Ingenix with a new, independent database.

UnitedHealth Group eventually eliminated Ingenix and created OptumInsight, keeping Slavitt on as CEO of the company until he joined CMS in 2014, according to The Daily Caller.

In March 2009, a Senate Commerce Committee hearing addressed the lawsuit and questioned whether Ingenix was truly independent if it was owned by UnitedHealth. Linda Lacewell, a lead investigator for Cuomo, testified that Ingenix purposefully defrauded customers and that the company only agreed to make changes to the system when the state threatened legal action.

The Daily Caller adds that critics have argued Slavitt was given an "ethics waiver" by President Obama when he joined CMS in 2014 as principle deputy administrator, circumventing an ethics order signed by Obama in 2009 barring federal appointees from working on issues tied to former employees for two years.  

For more:
- read The Daily Caller article

Related Articles:
NY plans to sue UnitedHealth over MD payments
UnitedHealth will pay $350M to settle AMA class-action over Ingenix data
UnitedHealth inks $50M settlement with NY over Ingenix charges
Obama nominates Andy Slavitt as new CMS administrator

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