111 Health Providers Charged With Medicare Fraud Totaling $225M
On Thursday, the Department of Justice charged 111 physicians, nurses and physical therapists in nine cities with Medicare fraud for allegedly falsely billing the program for more than $225 million, the AP/Washington Post reports.
The arrests represent the most in program history, and were made in:
- Baton Rouge, La.;
- Brooklyn, N.Y.;
- Los Angeles;
- Miami; and
- Tampa, Fla. (Kennedy, AP/Washington Post, 2/17).
The health care providers are accused of submitting Medicare claims for treatments that were medically unnecessary or not even provided, CQ HealthBeat reports. The inappropriate billing came for a variety of services -- such as home health care, physical and occupational therapy and nerve conduction tests -- and the purchasing of durable medical equipment.
The charges include conspiracy to defund Medicare, criminal false claims, money laundering and aggravated identity theft (Norman, CQ HealthBeat, 2/17).
The arrests by the joint DOJ-HHS Medicare Fraud Strike Force are part of the latest string of fraud arrests, which have increased over the past two years after HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Attorney General Eric Holder partnered to allocate more money, staff and efforts to root out Medicare fraud.
The government estimates that fraud costs Medicare between $60 billion and $90 billion annually (AP/Washington Post, 2/17).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.