OIG strategic plan eyes fraud, quality, innovation

The Office of Inspector General released an updated strategic plan that sets four broad goals to guide the agency's oversight of more than 300 government programs through 2018: fighting fraud, waste and abuse; promoting quality, safety and value; securing the future; and advancing excellence and innovation.

"As OIG works ever more effectively toward these goals," Inspector General Daniel R. Levinson said in the report, "I am confident that HHS programs and taxpayer dollars will be better protected and the programs will better serve the people who use them."    

The OIG's priorities and strategies flow from its goals, according to the revised plan. Specifically:

To fight fraud, OIG will continue to use a "multi-faceted approach of prevention, detection and deterrence." This includes using data analysis to investigate fraud, holding wrongdoers accountable, recovering overpayments and sealing program vulnerabilities.

To promote quality of care and public safety, OIG will keep investigating patient harms resulting from medical care and promoting quality improvement at various facilities. The OIG will continue efforts to boost emergency preparedness and protect the safety of food, drugs and medical devices, according to the revised plan.

To secure the future, OIG will expose operational flaws that threaten government programs, support a high-performing healthcare system and promote secure use of data and technology.

And to advance excellence and innovation, the OIG will build the diversity of its workforce and develop multidisciplinary leaders.

The OIG has been stepping up efforts to administer program integrity for the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Only a few days ago, for example, the agency told the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to develop a hospital readmissions measure for Medicare-eligible nursing homes, given Medicare spent $14.3 billion in 2011 to transfer beneficiaries from nursing homes to hospitals due to deteriorated health conditions. The OIG also concluded Medicare paid $5.1 billion for substandard or improperly-planned skilled nursing care and CMS could save more than $19 million annually by changing billing rules for canceled surgeries.

For more:
- read the updated plan (.pdf)