$225 Million Medicare Fraud Exposed
February 18, 2011
More than 100 doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals were arrested Thursday, Feb. 17, in what is being called as the “biggest crackdown ever in a single day in connection with Medicare fraud,” according to CNN. According to various news reports, authorities arrested suspects across the nation in LA, Dallas, Houston, Miami, Chicago, Detroit, Brooklyn, Tampa, and Baton Rouge, uncovering an estimated $225 million in fraudulnt Medicare charges.
The arrests are the latest in a string of major busts in the past two years as authorities have struggled to pare the fraud that’s believed to cost the government between $60 billion and $90 billion each year. Stopping Medicare’s budget from hemorrhaging that money will be key to paying for President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. — from AP
In Miami, two doctors and several nurses from ABC Home Health Care Inc. were arrested and charged for writing prescriptions for services that were never given, totaling $25 million.
For decades, Medicare has operated under a pay-and-chase system, paying providers first and investigating suspicious claims later. The system worked when the agency was paying hospitals and institutions that couldn’t close up shop and flee the country if they’d been overpaid. But as Medicare has expanded to one of the largest payer systems in the world, he agency has struggled to weed out crooks. There are about 1.3 million licensed suppliers nationwide with 18,000 new applications coming in every month.
“We can arrest and charge people every day and it still won’t make a dent until changes are made to Medicare,” said FBI special agent in charge John Gillies. — from AP