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nbeckleyJust as the CMS and the OIG in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice and other government agencies are announcing major new fraud initiatives under the Affordable Health Care Act of 2010, the “techies” in these agencies are taking the communication and information viral with a viable web presence.

In addition to the various websites hosted by CMS, the OIG and the DOJ, there are new websites that provide social networking opportunities that rapidly are becoming the standard in the Web 2.0 environment.

Earlier this year HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Attorney General Eric Holder unveiled the Stop Medicare Fraud website, which has been designed as a portal of information on how to identify and report suspected fraud (as well as information on fraud investigations). You will know you are there by the bright colors and the easy and engaging front-page stories providing quick access to information about fraud activities by state (a hyperlinked map of the U.S. provides an engaging graphic), plus how you can download a widget to your website on the Medicare Heat Task Force activities.

The top right-hand corner provides information to providers and beneficiaries alike – including the long-standing 1-800-HHS-TIPS phone number, the “old-fashioned” way to report suspected fraud that’s still surviving from the Secretary Shalala days in the Clinton administration.  Fraud tips now can be e-mailed directly to HHSTips@oig.hhs.gov.

Face Time

The Stop Medicare Fraud platform provides quick access to their Twitter feeds and their Facebook page, plus an opportunity to subscribe to their RSS feed. The Twitter page is http://twitter.com/Medicare_Fraud; in tweet-speak, this would be known as @Medicare_Fraud. As of this publication there are only 226 Twitter followers (I am offering a challenge to those on Twitter – let’s help them get their number up!), and the proper procedure to get connected on Facebook is to “like” the page (what’s not to like about Medicare Fraud?) When you get to the Facebook page you will see the “color badge” from the Stop Medicare Fraud website to your left. As of this writing the last update was posted on May 19. I am going to suggest that they consider using a social media publishing platform such as HootSuite or TweetDeck so updates can be posted simultaneously to all the various social networking platforms!

Now Playing on YouTube

As if all this excitement were not enough, a YouTube channel has been created and videos on training and information have been uploaded, along with recordings of key presentations at conferences highlighting anti-fraud initiatives. If you are so inclined to provide a feed of one of the videos on your website or block, the embedded code is readily available, or you simply can subscribe to the channel and be notified of new uploads.

A recent tweet from @Medicare_Fraud directs the viewer to the Department of Justice Blog, where you can stay connected with the DOJ on TwitterFacebook, MySpace, and YouTube. So you see how easy it is to go viral.

If your organization has only limited access to external websites or has blocked access entirely, this is a good opportunity to appeal simultaneously to the chief compliance officer and the chief information officer to consider the impact of denying staff access to fast-breaking and up-to-date regulatory information.

After all, you will never find this stuff on the CMS website!

About the Author

Nancy J. Beckley, MS, MBA, CHC is the President of Nancy Beckley & Associates LLC providing compliance resources to rehab providers in hospitals, skilled facilities, rehab agencies, CORFs and private practice.

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Nancy J. Beckley, MB, MBA, CHC

Nancy Beckley is founder and president of Nancy Beckley & Associates LLC, providing compliance planning and outsourced compliance services to rehab providers in hospitals, rehab agencies, and private practices. Nancy is certified in healthcare compliance by the Healthcare Compliance Certification Board. She is on the board of the National Association of Rehabilitation Providers and Agencies. She previously served on the CMS Professional Expert Technical Panel for Comprehensive Outpatient Rehabilitation Facilities. Nancy is a familiar voice on Monitor Mondays, where she serves as a senior national correspondent.

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