It Seemed Like An Easy Fix To Stop Doctors From Pushing Pills. Years Later It Still Hasn’t Begun.
As a result of the many delays, the government is still covering prescriptions written by doctors who have been kicked out of Medicare and even some who have pleaded guilty to crimes.
How A Simple Fix To Reduce Aberrant Prescribing Became Not So Simple
Back in 2014, federal officials settled on what they thought would be a straightforward fix to curb abusive pill pushing: Require doctors and other health providers to register with the Medicare program in order to prescribe medications for beneficiaries. That way, the government could screen them and take action if their prescribing habits were deemed improper. Officials figured the modest change would barely ruffle the medical community: Doctors already had to fill out an application, have their credentials verified and enroll to get paid by Medicare for seeing patients, after all. But this fix, which followed a 2013 ProPublica investigation into questionable prescribing in Medicare, has yet to be implemented. (Ornstein, 2/10)