111 healthcare providers, others charged with fraud
Federal authorities charged 111 doctors, nurses and other defendants with healthcare fraud in alleged scams uncovered by Medicare strike forces, HHS and the U.S. Justice Department announced. Officials said the unrelated schemes together were responsible for about $225 million in fraudulent billing. Attorney General Eric Holder and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a joint news conference that the arrests in the coordinated takedown are evidence that the government is getting more sophisticated at identifying billing scams that drain resources from its health programs. The bulk of the allegations involve fraudulent billing for durable medical equipment, physical therapy and home health, but also claims for proctology and podiatry procedures never performed. Arrests were carried out in Baton Rouge, La.; Chicago; Dallas; Detroit; Houston; Los Angeles; Miami; New York; and Tampa, Fla. They follow indictments unsealed two days earlier against an additional 20 defendants in Miami accused of participating in a $200 million fraud scheme broken up in October. HHS and the Justice Department run the strike forces with the help of state and local agencies, and they have expanded the model to several cities over the past year in order to replicate successes with the prototype in Florida and a second in Los Angeles.
“We have identified and shut down large-scale fraud schemes,” Attorney General Eric Holder says of the arrests.