The OIG has called on CMS to expand its use of surety bonds for Medicare DMEPOS suppliers, in a report entitled “Surety Bonds Remain an Underutilized Tool to Protect Medicare from Supplier Overpayments.”  Although CMS has required suppliers to obtain a minimum of $50,000 in surety bond coverage per location since 2009, the OIG found that CMS did not have accurate surety bond information for all Medicare suppliers as of 2011, and bonds in effect do not enable the agency to recoup all overpayments. As of August 2011, 1,429 suppliers owed $70 million to Medicare, but $20 million of this amount was owed by 312 suppliers without bonds. Out of the $50 million owed by bonded suppliers, the OIG estimates that $42 million will likely remain uncollected because the overpayment exceeds the $50,000 bond amount. The OIG recommends that CMS: improve oversight of supplier data to ensure accurate reporting; immediately begin recovering outstanding overpayments from suppliers’ surety bonds; consider using ACA authority to require increased surety bond amounts for suppliers receiving high levels of Medicare payments; and specify that collection of debts through surety bonds is based on dates of service. CMS concurred with the OIG recommendations, noting in its response to the report that as of July 2012, it has collected $263,000 in overpayments from sureties, and additional recoveries are expected. CMS also stated that it considering linking DMEPOS surety bond amounts to the volume of a supplier’s billing. CMS also is considering requiring home health agencies and certain other provider and supplier types to obtain and maintain surety bonds as a condition of enrollment.