Feds Charge More than 400 in Nationwide Healthcare Fraud Bust


Federal agencies conducted an “unprecedented” nationwide healthcare fraud takedown, with 412 charged in crimes that accounted for $1.3 billion in false claims.

The Department of Justice and Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General announced that the charges were filed in 41 federal districts as part of the bust and 115 medical professionals, namely doctors and nurses, were among those charged (PDF).

The action was the largest taken against health fraud in DOJ history, according to the department. The annual takedown is in its eighth year, and the number of people charged continues to grow. Last year, the agencies charged 301 people, and 243 people were charged in 2015.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the agencies are working to develop new techniques to identify more fraud cases faster.  He also highlighted some of the fraud cases, which included a fake drug rehabilitation facility in Palm Beach, Florida, recruited addicts using gift cards, visits to strip clubs and drugs so it could filed claims for more than $5.8 million in false tests and treatments, Sessions said. In another case, staff at an illegal Houston clinic handed out opioids in exchange for cash.

The Trump administration signaled that would make fighting health fraud a priority through its budget proposals, which slashed funding to agencies like the National Institutes of Health but increased allocations to the Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control program.

(Source: Paige Minemyer; Fierce Healthcare [7/13/2017])