On November 24, 2014, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the Department of Health and Human Services issued the attached Alert to tribes and tribal organizations urging that they ensure that any Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA) funds they receive are lawfully spent and protected from misuse. The Alert also addresses the use of Medicare, Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance Program reimbursements. The OIG states: “recent investigations have revealed that some tribes and tribal organizations, or their officials, have not adequately protected these funds; as a result the funds have been misappropriated or misused. In some cases, health care services for tribal members have been jeopardized.” The OIG notes that improper use of ISDEAA funds is subject to disallowance and that fraud involving HHS program is “subject to possible criminal, civil, and/or administrative sanctions.”
In a December 1 conversation with the OIG Counsel’s office, we were informed that the Alert is not based on a particular OIG report, but rather based on individual cases. The OIG informed the Indian Health Service last week that this Alert was forthcoming. While the Alert was issued on November 24, it was posted on the OIG website December 1, 2014.
We will pursue additional information regarding the background and context for the OIG Alert and follow developments relating to it.