Federal Officials Charge 91 More Individuals With Medicare Fraud
On Wednesday, federal officials announced charges against 91 individuals who are accused of defrauding Medicare of about $295 million through false billing, AP/Sacramento Bee reports.
Attorney General Eric Holder and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that about half the arrests were made in Miami, while additional charges were filed in:
- Baton Rouge, La.;
- Brooklyn, N.Y.;
- Houston; and
- Los Angeles (AP/Sacramento Bee, 9/7).
According to National Journal, as much as $159 million in false charges were filed in Miami for services such as home health care, mental health services, occupational and physical therapy and medical equipment (McCarthy, National Journal, 9/7).
Among the arrests were providers who allegedly administered services to dead individuals or attempted to receive reimbursements for care that was medically unnecessary or never provided.
The investigations were led by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which is part of the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team created by the Obama administration in 2009. Since then, the force has carried out a coordinated series of arrests in a number of cities (Markon, Washington Post, 9/7).
In February, the Strike Force's work resulted in the Department of Justice charging 111 physicians, nurses and physical therapists in nine cities with Medicare fraud for allegedly falsely billing the program for more than $225 million (California Healthline, 2/18).
Sebelius said federal officials will continue to work to root out fraud in Medicare, adding that the federal health reform law "gives us new tools to prevent Medicare fraud before it is committed" (National Journal, 9/7).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.