MEDI-CAL FRAUD: Five More Charged, Bringing Total to 102
Five people were added to the list of those charged with bilking the Medi-Cal program, the AP/Contra Costa Times reports. The new indictments boost the total of fraud charges to 102 since a joint federal and state task force was created in 1998. More than 250 additional medical providers are under investigation and authorities estimate that the fraudulent claims have cost California taxpayers some $1 billion a year. Gov. Gray Davis (D) -- whom the FBI praised for his "assumed leadership role" in enhancing the probe -- said, "I have no patience for people who rip off the Medi-Cal system -- a system designed to help the most vulnerable in our society. They are the scum of the earth as far as I am concerned, and I will not rest until every single one of them is in prison." So far, 61 people have been convicted and forced to pay $15 million in restitution. The Medi-Cal program serves more than 5 million low-income Californians on a budget of some $18.5 billion each year (Lindlaw, 4/14).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.