Government authorities have recently been putting a greater focus on Medicare fraud enforcement. Because of this, authorities can be quite aggressive in their investigations of alleged Medicare fraud schemes. These investigations can lead to multiple people facing criminal charges. For instance, charges have recently been brought against several individuals in a Florida health care fraud case.
The charges were brought in connection to a Medicare fraud scheme that was allegedly perpetrated by a health care company and its sister organizations. The company reportedly would pay assisted living facilities to send mental health patients to the company's health centers.
The company would then claim that these patients were receiving therapy at the centers and would bill Medicare for these treatments. However, authorities argue that this mental health care was never actually provided. Rather, they claim that the company would just put the patients in rooms and have them watch television. The company allegedly paid some of the patients kickbacks in connection to this scheme. Allegedly, this billing scheme stole hundreds of millions of dollars from Medicare.
On Tuesday, indictments were issued against three doctors and 18 other individuals who are believed to be a part of this scheme. On the same day, 16 people were arrested in connection to this case.
Prosecutors and law enforcement officials appear to be acting quite aggressively in this case, given the high number of charges and arrests that have occurred in connection to it. This illustrates how Medicare fraud enforcement is increasingly becoming a major priority for government authorities. It will be interesting to see how this case progresses.
Source: Bloomberg, "3 doctors, 18 others charged in Fla. Medicare scam," (Article no longer available online) Kelli Kennedy, 15 Feb 2011