Ninety-one doctors, nurses and others were charged in a blockbuster sting operation, with arrests unfolding over three weeks and culminating in 70 arrests last week. In 2007, a strike force was set up between the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services to identify and build federal fraud cases to fight criminal abuse of federal healthcare programs. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said that arrests were made in eight US cities involving more than $295 million in stolen funds.
Almost half of those charged were part of a Florida ring that recruited healthcare providers to refer patients to a mental health center, in some cases threatening residents of a halfway house with eviction if they refused the unnecessary care. Another case involved $3.4 million in unnecessary physical therapy by two Brooklyn physicians.
On September 1, officials in Detroit charged 18 physicians, nurses, clinic owners and other medical professionals for submitting $28 million in false claims to Medicare. Just one day earlier, the owner of a Houston, Texas durable medical equipment business was sentenced to 97 months in prison for his role in a Medicare fraud scheme.
In all, the strike force, known as Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), has charged 1,140 defendants who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $2.9 billion.
When providers have been convicted of fraud and certain other infractions and delinquencies, their names are placed on the List of Excluded Individuals/Entities (LEIE) database. CarePrecise compiles this data into its comprehensive database of U.S. healthcare providers, identifying excluded providers' NPI numbers, phone and fax numbers.
Read the full story on the HHS website.