The U.S. authorities have charged 107 doctors, nurses and other medical professionals with Medicare fraud in a nationwide crackdown involving about 452 million U.S. dollars, the highest amount in a single takedown, officials said on Wednesday.
The takedown by Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in seven cities involved the highest amount of false Medicare billings in a single takedown in its history, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said.
About 59 people in Miami, seven in Baton Rough, 9 in Houston, 8 in Los Angeles, 22 in Detroit were charged for submitting false billing, for medical services including home health, psychotherapy and infusion therapy, among others.
According to court documents, the defendants allegedly participated in schemes to submit claims to Medicare for treatments that were medically unnecessary and often never provided. In many cases, court documents allege that patient recruiters, Medicare beneficiaries and other co-conspirators were paid cash kickbacks in return for supplying beneficiary information to providers, so that the latter could submit fraudulent billing to Medicare for services that were medically unnecessary or never provided.
"The results we are announcing today are at the heart of an administration-wide commitment to protect American taxpayers from health care fraud, which can drive up costs and threaten the strength and integrity of our health care system," said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
Since their inception in March 2007, Strike Force operations in nine locations have charged more than 1,330 defendants who collectively have falsely billed Medicare for more than 4 billion U.S. dollars.