The Justice Department began targeting Medicare fraud in 2007 as a national crisis. Since then they have been aggressive in their pursuit and prosecution of anyone they suspect may have been involved in Medicare fraud.
South Florida seems to be a target of federal prosecutors as most of those accused of health care fraud are from that area. In fact, Miami is recognized by federal law enforcement officials as the nation's Medicare fraud capital.
Last week federal law enforcement officials arrested more than 100 suspects for alleged Medicare fraud. This is one of the largest investigations and arrests for health care fraud, with the alleged fraud totaling more than $450 fraudulent bills to Medicare.
The suspects were from seven U.S. cities, the majority of whom came from Florida. In fact, 59 of those accused are from the state of Florida, and they allegedly were responsible for almost one third of the millions of suspected fraudulent bills.
Among those who were recently accused of Medicare fraud were owners and operators of mental health care facilities, physical therapists, home care providers and HIV service providers. It is alleged that the fraud involved the failure to provide billed for services, providing services that were unnecessary or paying kickbacks to recruiters and assisted-living facilities to supply patients.
Obviously these recent arrests for Medicare fraud are not insignificant. The Justice Department is certainly hoping to send the message to anyone considering taking part in a Medicare or Medicaid fraud scheme to think twice.
It is possible, however, that some people have been wrongfully accused of Medicare fraud. It is important to remember that simply because someone appears to be involved in a Medicare fraud scheme does not necessarily mean that they have broken the law.
Source: Boston Herald, "Feds arrest more than 100 Medicare fraud suspects in South Florida, nationwide," Jay Weaver, May 6, 2012