Alexander Proposes Using “Secret Weapon” to Combat Waste, Fraud and Abuse in Medicare and Medicaid Programs

Posted on June 15, 2017

Washington, D.C., June 15, 2017 – Today Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) told HHS Secretary Tom Price that each year there are billions in fraudulent Medicare and Medicaid claims, and supercomputers at our national laboratories can be used as a “secret weapon” in the effort to combat this waste, fraud and abuse.  

“The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is a $1.6 trillion operation – with $820 billion in claims each year,” said Alexander. “According to The Economist, as much as $272 billion across the entire health system is swindled each year and criminals are switching from dealing drugs to fraud because it is more profitable and safer. National laboratories are our secret weapons – they have supercomputers that are among the fastest in the world and CMS should take advantage of the innovative ways supercomputing can be used to combat waste, fraud and abuse.”

As part of a collaboration that began in 2011, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory worked with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to analyze 3 years of claims data and develop new methods to identify fraudulent claims. The project identified millions of fraudulent payments within weeks using the same type of data analysis that is used to find terrorists. 

Alexander told Secretary Price that he hoped CMS would consider a new partnership to use supercomputing resources to combat waste, fraud and abuseSecretary Price responded “I am intrigued by that idea, and I look forward to working with you.”

Alexander is also chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, which oversees the Department of Energy. The Department of Energy currently operates the fastest supercomputers in the country, and is developing next-generation “exascale” supercomputers that will be the fastest in the world.