The massive crackdown that led to charges against 89 different people included four Tampa area clinics. Among the claims laid out by the U.S. Attorney General were charges that four fake health care clinics, purportedly based in Tampa, filed more than $2.5 million in Medicare claims for procedures that were not performed. The claims involved varicose vein procedures. Each of the four clinics listed the identical address of 2137 W. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
The clinics shared more than an address, according to federal investigators. Palmetto General Healthcare Inc., United Healthcare Center Inc., New Imagining Center Inc. and Lord Physical Rehabilitation Center are accused of billing Medicare for performing the same procedures on the same patients at the same time. The billing code used was for a surgery designed to treat high blood pressure by collapsing leg veins. Law enforcement officials contend that no surgeries were ever performed.
Six people have been charged in connection with the four clinics. Four were charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud and health care fraud while two more were charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering. The four accused of Medicare fraud are Miami residents.
Health care fraud has drawn considerable attention from the Department of Justice and Health and Human Services in recent years. Task forces have arrested hundreds of people. The sentences handed out for these crimes have grown in severity from just a few short years ago. Anyone charged with Medicare or Medicaid fraud is facing harsh criminal penalties.
Source: Tampa Tribune, “Four Tampa clinics targeted in Medicare fraud sweep,” by Elaine Silvestrini, 14 May 2013