Despite the historical number of Medicare fraud arrests, more are set to come.
According to Modern Healthcare reporter Lisa Schencker, “Federal officials announced Thursday the largest coordinated, criminal Medicare fraud takedown—and the first large-scale effort to focus on Medicare Part D fraud—in the history of the U.S. Justice Department.
Over the last three days, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force has unveiled charges against 243 individuals across the country accused of falsely billing $712 million to Medicare in a number of separate schemes, said U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Those charged include 46 doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals.”
Of those arrested, more than 44 have been charged with fraud related to Medicare’s drug benefit program – Medicare Part D.
HHS Inspector General Daniel Levinson said costs in Medicare Part D reached $121 billion last year. “Our focus on Medicare Part D continues because more than 41 million Americans depend on that program, and its integrity must be protected,” Levinson said.
Law firms, like Health Law Partners, are starting to see a lot of fraud enforcement in the pharmacy area.
Medicare Part D More Difficult to Prosecute
Since Medicare Part D payments are capitated, instead of being fee-for-service, prosecuting in this area can be more difficult to prosecute than other areas of Medicade, according to Patrick Burns, co-director of the Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund.
Tony Maida, a former deputy chief of the administrative and civil remedies branch of HHS’ Office of Inspector General, also noted in a statement that the announcement Thursday “was packaged together by the government to create a high level of media and public exposure, as well as for a deterrent effect.”
Types of Charges Against the 243 Individuals
In this latest federal effort to crack down on fraud, the 243 individuals accused were charged with a variety of crimes including “conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, violating the anti-kickback statute, money laundering and aggravated identity theft in areas including home healthcare, psychotherapy, physical and occupational therapy, durable medical equipment and pharmacy fraud.”
Who’s Investigating These Cases?
Medicare Strike Force teams from the Fraud Section of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division as well as U.S. attorney’s offices around the country are prosecuting and investigating these cases.
If you are aware of Medicare fraud, contact a Medicare Fraud Attorney as soon as possible.