CMS Official Grilled on Medicare Secondary Payer Program

Politics were at work as Deborah Taylor, the chief financial officer of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, faced tough questioning during a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee On Oversight and Investigations hearing regarding the financial controls applied to this aspect of Medicare – a generally complex and obscure part of the program.

CQ HealthBeat: When Medicare Pays Second, Its Work Isn’t First-Rate, GOP Says 

It wasn’t a great morning to be the chief financial officer of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. With Republicans anxious to show that government is lousy at running the program and Democrats wanting to prove they are able stewards of federal dollars, Deborah Taylor was confronted by a room of lawmakers who repeatedly questioned her about the financial controls she uses in running the Medicare Secondary Payer program. It was an improbable scene, given the obscurity and complexity of the program, the unusually large turnout of lawmakers asking questions, and the detailed nature of what they asked. The hearing was held by the House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee (Reichard, 6/22).

Modern Healthcare: CMS Official Scolded At Hearing 

The chief financial officer of the CMS’ Office of Financial Management had few answers to a host of questions from lawmakers about Medicare’s secondary-payer regime during a congressional oversight hearing Wednesday. Deborah Taylor, director of that office, testified about the program she described serves as a “payer of last resort” when another insurer has the primary responsibility to pay for care of a Medicare beneficiary. … Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, said recoveries for the Medicare secondary-payer program fall into two categories: post-payment collections for injuries that happened and were paid by Medicare, and a set-aside amount to cover future bills. But businesses and injured individuals cannot close on a settlement until the CMS provides a complete list of all medical costs, and “We have heard complaints from a variety of interested parties that CMS is not providing this information in a consistent or timely manner,” Stearns said in his opening remarks (Zigmond, 6/22).

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