Caught : Health Scams In The US Worth Billions Of Dollars

A lot of health scams have been coming to officials notice lately; United States Health Care is losing billions of dollars on health frauds by doctors and other medical centre officials. It’s a tempting target for thieves. Medicaid provides service to the poor and Medicare is amedical insurance program for the elderly. Medicaid spends $415 billion a year; Medicare, nearly $600 billion. Total health spending in America is a massive $2.7 trillion, or 17% of GDP. No one knows for sure how much of that is embezzled, but in 2012 Donald Berwick, a former head of the Centres for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and Andrew Hackbarth of the RAND Corporation, estimated that fraud (and the extra rules and inspections required to fight it) added as much as $98 billion, or roughly 10%, to annual Medicare and Medicaid spending—and up to $272 billion across the entire health system as reported by The Economist.

In Miami a mental-health facility issued bills to Medicare for tens of millions of dollars stating intensive treatment as the reason. In reality it just involved moving people to different location; some patients suffered from severe dementia and could not communicate.

In LA officials nabbed a doctor who collected $23 million for a 1000 power wheelchairs and equipments that his patients never needed and very often he never even provided them with it.

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In Michigan, a physician bargained unnecessary painkillers in return for the patients ID’s so that he could show false bills on their names. Even when the patients did not want to participate any longer, he threatened to cut them off from the painkillers, to which they were addicted.

The Justice Department, after conducting an 8 year long campaign, has charged 243 people with the amount of $712 million in false billings to Medicare and Medicaid. The Government had been secretly checking up on doctors, nurses, providers of psychotherapy, home care, drugs, physical therapy and medical equipment.

FBI director James Comey stated that if one wants to find criminals one should follow the money, and in this case money was followed to the criminals who were attracted to attracted to doctor’s offices, to clinics, to hospitals, to nursing homes in search of what they viewed as an ATM, an ATM that was a freebie to them but is actually filled with taxpayers’ money.

This fraud is spread out all over the U.S, including Miami, Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, New Orleans, Detroit etc.

The Washington Post report stated that a power wheelchair scam netted fraudulent substantial amounts of the programs money over 15 years. A $205 million scam was carried out by a Miami health care official, who was nabbed and sentenced to jail for 50 years.

A “strike force” was put together by the Government in 2007, which focuses on health care fraud. It has charged 2,300 people for scams worth $7 billion. Its efforts have expanded under the Affordable Care Act which provided $305 million.

Many of these cases involved patients being in on the scams by receiving kickback of some sort.


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