Published: Sat, July 15, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

DOJ Announces Largest Health Care Fraud Takedown In US History

DOJ Announces Largest Health Care Fraud Takedown In US History

The Justice Department said that it has recently charged more than 400 people, including 56 doctors, with committing health-care fraud that generated $1.3 billion in false billings. Numerous arrests were years in the making and focused on fraud related to opioids.

"Too many trusted medical professionals like doctors, nurses, and pharmacists have chosen to violate their oaths and put greed ahead of their patients", said U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

"An illegal clinic in Houston allegedly gave out prescriptions for cash", said Sessions.

On Dec. 7, the four suspects in the burglary were charged with conspiracy to break into a business registered with the DEA to dispense controlled substances.

Around $108 million of the fraudulent billings came from Texas.

Hundreds of people have been charged with acts of healthcare fraud in the largest crackdown in USA history.

Ten individuals in the middle district of Florida charged with participating in a variety of schemes involving nearly $14 million in alleged fraudulent billing.

What's Dividing Republican Senators on the Health Care Bill
McConnell in a statement said he hopes the delay will give lawmakers time to act on legislation and took a swipe at Democrats . Ben Sasse, R-Neb., also plans to dig into the new proposal as soon as it's released, according to spokesman James Wegmann.

In his comments, Sessions also referenced a Palm Beach, Florida, "fake rehab facility" for recovering drug addicts that allegedly recruited addicts with gift cards and visits to strip clubs as billing more than $58 million in faux treatments and tests. Two of the defendants were indicted for their alleged involvement in a $41.5 million scheme to defraud Medicare and a private insurer by submitting fraudulent claims and receiving payments for prescription drugs that were not filled by the pharmacy nor given to patients.

He added that due to this discovery, 295 heath care providers are being suspended or banned from participation in federal heath programs.

"We are sending a clear message to criminals across the country: we will find you", said Sessions at a press briefing. "We will bring you to justice". More than 74,000 pills were obtained using those prescriptions. Other patients got extreme opioid amounts, appeared to be "doctor shopping", and had multiple subscribers and pharmacies.

Examples of Schedule II narcotics include morphine, opium, codeine, hydrocodone and oxycodone, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The same day that the DOJ announced the arrests, a report by the Department of Health and Human Services inspector general (IG) found that roughly 70,000 Medicare beneficiaries were prescribed extreme amounts of opioids in 2016 that more than doubled the amount recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to NPR.

"I know we overuse certain words in the lexicon like unprecedented and historic and unique", said Chuck Rosenberg, acting administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Opioid addiction is an escalating public health crisis.

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