Phony prescriptions, treatments that were not medically necessary, home care that was never provided, and medical equipment that was never purchased - the murky world of healthcare fraud has all this and more, as Federal authorities recently learned.
In the biggest crackdown to date, 300 people, including 60 licensed medical professionals and 30 physicians, have been arrested for embezzlement. The Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services estimate that these individuals falsely billed Medicare and Medicaid for an estimated $900 million.
The roundup included five arrests in Brooklyn, New York; these individuals alone are reported to be responsible for a $86 million scam. These individuals are reported to have cheated Medicare and Medicaid by paying kickbacks to patients who then underwent physical and occupational therapy that was medically unnecessary. By floating several shell companies that pretended to be consulting, marketing, and advertising advisors, the five, including a licensed physical therapist and a licensed occupational therapist, funneled off more than $38 million in reimbursements.
Addressing a press conference about the takedown, the retinue of federal investigators were joined by HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell and Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
Investigators hope to make it clear that healthcare fraud is a serious crime. Federal officials claim this crackdown will send a strong signal to deter others. Theft from programs funded by taxpayers will simply not be tolerated, because not only are public funds used for personal enrichment, but the fragile bonds of trust between doctors, patients, pharmacists, taxpayers, and the government are broken.