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Medicare fraud task force charges 91

In what is being called the largest health care fraud sweep in the history of the Medicare fraud strike force, 91 health care providers were arrested for involvement in Medicare fraud schemes. Sources said the schemes involved submitting claims to Medicare for treatments that were either not performed or which were medically unnecessary. Overall, $295 million in false bills were submitted by the providers. Those charges were announced on Wednesday by Attorney General Eric Holder and other officials.

The anti-fraud sweep was operated by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, an enforcement agency which was started in 2007 under the Bush administration. Eight cities were involved in the fraud sweep, including Houston, Miami, Baton Rouge, Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago and New York.

The sweep reportedly took place over the last couple weeks. Around 21 arrests were made prior to Tuesday. Over the course of Tuesday and Wednesday, an additional 70 individuals were arrested. Almost half of the arrests came out of Miami, which is widely regarded as the health care fraud capital of the nation. There, nearly $160 million worth of false claims were submitted for various services including mental health and occupational and physical therapy.

In Baton Rouge, ten defendants were charged; in Log Angeles, six; in Brooklyn, three; in Detroit, 18; in Chicago, four; and in Dallas and Houston, four each.

Sources said the sweep was the largest in the history of the strike force, which operates in nine different locations across the country.

Source: CNN, "Federal agents charge 91 in Medicare fraud case," Terry Frieden, Sep. 7, 2011.

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