Friday, January 19, 2018

91 doctors, medical professionals charged in health care fraud

WASHINGTON — A federal strike force charged 91 doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals across the country in connection with phony bills totaling nearly $430 million, the latest in a series of busts by the Obama administration to attack rising government losses to health care fraud.

"We are fighting back," Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said Thursday. "Today's takedown underscores the fact that federal efforts to combat health care fraud have been more strategic, more comprehensive, more effective."

Since May 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force under the Department of Justice and Department of Health and Human Services has conducted a series of sweeps and arrested more than 1,480 defendants on suspicion of more than $4.8 billion in health care fraud.

Cities targeted for arrests in the past two days were Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Brooklyn, N.Y., and Baton Rouge, La.

In all, the new indictments allege more than $230 million in home health care fraud and more than $100 million in community health care schemes.

The Los Angeles defendants were involved in six separate cases alleged to have cost the government more than $65 million in false billings to Medicare.

Timothy J. Delaney, of the FBI's Los Angeles field office, said bills were routinely submitted for "inflated rates of service, or for services that were never provided," often for elderly patients. Such schemes, Delaney said, end up as "a cost borne by taxpayers."

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