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Monday, July 19, 2010

Medicare Scams Busted!

Ninety-Four Arrested Over Medicare Scams Totaling $251 Million.

ABC World News (7/16, story 6, 2:05, Muir) reported on "hundreds of raids carried out this country" on Friday "in what's being called the biggest Medicare fraud bust in history. Doctors and nurses billing the American taxpayer for procedures that never happened, and clinics that don't even exist."
The CBS Evening News (7/16, story 3, 2:00, Couric) noted that "one way the government plans to pay for healthcare reform is by cracking down on Medicare fraud. ... Dozens of people have been arrested including doctors, patients, and clinic owners accused of scamming Medicare out of hundreds of millions of dollars."
The AP (7/17, Kennedy, Hays) reported, "Authorities said busts carried out this week in Miami, New York City, Detroit, Houston, and Baton Rouge, La., were the largest Medicare fraud takedown in history." The move also was "part of a massive overhaul in the way federal officials are preventing and prosecuting the crimes."
The Washington Post (7/18, Markon) noted, "The arrests came as Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius held the first in a series of regional 'summits' on healthcare fraud prevention in Miami. The high-level attention marked the latest step in crackdown on fraud that the Obama administration has said is a key part of its agenda on healthcare reform."
The Miami Herald (7/17, Hiaasen) pointed out, "Experts say Medicare fraud in South Florida costs US taxpayers between $3 billion and $4 billion annually. It's predictable that Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties would be the hotbed, and also the venue for one of every three federal healthcare fraud prosecutions." (7/16) reported, "The defendants are charged with conspiring to submit over $280 million in false claims to the federal healthcare program designed to aid the elderly." Sebelius said, "Today's arrests send a strong message that attempts to defraud Medicare will not be tolerated." According to the report, "charges include filing fraudulent claims for HIV/infusion services, home healthcare, physical therapy and durable medical equipment."
The New York Daily News (7/17, Marzulli) reported, "The feds busted a Medicare mill in Brooklyn where the elderly gathered in a 'kickback room' to collect payoffs under a Cold War-era poster warning them to keep their mouths shut." Brooklyn US Attorney Loretta Lynch said yesterday "that 15 people were arrested -- including an 82-year-old woman. Seven others are being sought in the $78 million scheme." The Wall Street Journal (7/17, Benoit, subscription required) and CQ HealthBeat (7/17, Adams, subscription required) also covered the story.

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