Thursday, Dec. 09, 2010

Health Care Fraud

Amid the political tussle over reforming America's health care system, hucksters saw an opportunity. The Justice Department announced in November that it had collected a record $2.5 billion over the past year in incidents related to health care fraud. Cases in Detroit, Miami and Los Angeles demonstrated that defrauding health insurance companies has emerged as a new industry to rival Medicare fraud, which saw no abatement in 2010. In response, the Obama Administration opened a special joint task force to which the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services are contributing. They've got their work cut out for them. According to the Los Angeles Times, an L.A. doctor named Anne Peters tried to alert authorities during the spring and summer that someone was falsely using her medical-identification information to process bogus Medicare claims. When her complaint finally cleared the red tape that required that it be registered by patients rather than doctors, the authorities finally nabbed the crooks. The investigation uncovered a six-person ring that had defrauded Medicare of $7 million by using the data of 19 doctors.