Fraud, Medicare . . . & O My Aching Taxpayer Back
As part of a seven-city, $430-million Medicare and Medicaid fraud takedown, the FBI – as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force – announced fifteen people in the greater New York area, including a doctor and four licensed chiropractors, have been charged.
Prosecutors say criminal charges in the nationwide sweep include health care fraud, conspiring to defraud, wire fraud, anti-kickback statutes violations, and money laundering in Los Angeles, Miami, Dallas, Houston, Baton Rouge and Chicago, as well as in New York. It is asserted in New York alone more than $23 million had been gained illegally in alleged fraudulent schemes.
Human and Health Services (HHS) Secretary Katherine Sebelius stated “[These] arrests put criminals on notice we are cracking down hard on people who want to steal from Medicare. . . . HHS [is using] new authority from the [Affordable Care Act] to stop future payments to many health care providers suspected of fraud.”
This declaration seems like quite a line in the sand. No one is arguing the health care system isn’t perfect. It is vulnerable to outside illicit scheming and needs to be defended. But it is equally at fault as well – vulnerable by its own cumbersome structure, vulnerable by its own less-than-high standard of medical care. . . as well as, frankly, it’s often reluctant embrace of alternative health care treatment. Any licensed chiropractor can tell you about this.
So one has to wonder. This takedown and announcement seem very close on the heels of a hotly-contested presidential election where, aside from the economy, health care IS the topic. And what about those sweeping charges – conspiracy, fraud, kickbacks, money laundering? Any able criminal defense attorney can tell you that Yes these are big, emphatic words – very impressive. But are they valid? Too often in situations of alleged fraud doctors and other medical professionals equally are the unwitting victims, often when serving on behalf of a health care organization.
The health care insurance fraud defense team at Parkman Blanch knows this all too well, whether it be Medicare, Medicaid, or any other.