In May, 90 individuals were charged for their alleged participation in Medicare fraud schemes. These individuals included up to 27 doctors, nurses and other medical professionals. There was approximately $260 million in false billings. Attorney General Eric Holder and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced a nationwide takedown. The announcement was joined by Acting Assistant Attorney General David A. O’Neil of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, FBI Assistant Director Joseph Campbell, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Inspector General Daniel R. Levinson and Deputy Administrator and Director of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Center for Program Integrity Shantanu Agrawal.This is the seventh national Medicare takedown in history. In May 2009, a joint initiative between the Department of Justice and HHS was announced. This is in efforts to prevent fraud and enforce current anti-fraud laws.Strike Force operations began in March 2007. Since then, nearly 1,900 defendants have been billed for over $6 million. Over 400 agents from every department participated in this year’s takedown.Secretary Sebelius stated, “The Affordable Care Act has given us additional tools to preserve Medicare and protect the tens of millions of Americans who rely on it each day. By expanding ou
r authority to suspend Medicare payments and reimbursements when fraud is suspected, the law allows us to better preserve the system and save taxpayer dollars. Today we’re sending a strong, clear message to anyone seeking to defraud Medicare: You will get caught and you will pay the price. We will protect a sacred trust and an earned guarantee.”The defendants have been charged for multiple crimes: conspiracy to commit health care fraud, violations of the anti-kickback statutes and money laundering. Court documents report that the defendants all submit claims to Medicare for unnecessary treatments that were often not provided.Assistant Attorney General O’Neil explained that law enforcement is using cutting-edge techniques to catch these people committing Medicare fraud. Every tool will be used in order to prevent this from happening in the future.FBI Assistant Director Campbell explained that Medicare fraud ultimately leads to higher health care costs for the rest of the country. This in turn makes it much harder for the elderly to get the care that they need. All law enforcement is committed to preventing this from happening. Medicare fraud is a serious crime that affects everyone.All these cases are being prosecuted and investigated by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force team. This includes lawyers from the fraud section of the Justice Department’s criminal division. If you are aware of someone that has committed Medicare fraud, it is imperative that it gets reported. More information regarding this can be found at stopmedicarefraud.gov.If Medicare fraud can be stopped once and for all, the rest of the US won’t have to suffer higher medical costs. If you are in need of a Desert Radiologist, you may want to seek care at Steinberg Medical. They accept most insurances, and the cost is fairly affordable. For more information regarding medical costs for radiology, contact 702.732.6000.