A continued effort to crackdown on Medicare billing fraud has led prosecutors to arrest 107 people in seven U.S. cities. Those arrested include nurses and doctors. This is the biggest single day takedown in the history of the Medicare Fraud Task Force. Charges include accusations of arrestees participating in schemes to fraudulently bill Medicare for over $450 million dollars.
Arrests in Tampa, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, Baton Rouge and Houston brought in 100 people in the biggest roundup in a crackdown that began three years ago, according to Attorney Generalalong with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Last year the team arrested 111 people who were accused of attempting to fraudulently bill Medicare for $225 million dollars. These charges include charges for services never performed, overbilling for services rendered and other charges.
Last year, CNN reported, “In the Dallas area, one Ollie Futrell was taped allegedly negotiating with Medicare beneficiaries on how much of a kickback they would receive for accepting unnecessary home-health services, and how much they would receive for referring new patients into the scheme, according to the indictment. The Dallas scheme billed Medicare a bit more than $1 million from November 2008 through November 2010, while the Miami ring billed Medicare almost $25 million and was paid more than $16 million from January 2006 through March 2009, according to the indictments.”
As Americans are scrutinizing expenses from their own pocketbooks, the U.S. government has asked Medicare beneficiaries to scrutinize bills sent the government under the Medicare plan for payment as well. A patient that sees a disparity in their medical bill are being asked to contact the Medicare office to have the charges investigated. Patients are the most qualified to recognize charges that do not look legitimate on their billing statement. If a patient sees a billing for a service that was never performed, they are being asked to proactively help the Medicare office determine the validity of charges on their bill.
A cooperative environment between Medicare and Medicare recipients is anticipated to continue turning up fraudulent practices across the nation. During a time when taxpayers are pinching pennies to struggle through the ongoing economic crisis in the United States, any situation that will help lead to continue savings to Medicare is exciting news for the agency as well as the American people.