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Over the last month or so, Medicare fraud prevention has been making major headlines.  In June, the Department of Justice led the FBI and other law enforcement agencies in a nationwide sweep resulting in 243 arrests representing the largest Medicare fraud “takedown” in terms of defendants charged and amount lost.  According to authorities, the healthcare providers are accused of over $700 million in fraudulent billings.

Strike Force Gets Results

The Office of the Inspector General is a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and it operates the Medicare Fraud Strike Force.  The Strike Force combines the resources of federal and local law enforcement departments to target fraud schemes that waste taxpayer money.  Since its inception in 2007, the Strike Force has secured 2,000 indictments for alleged fraud totaling over $7 billion by some reports.

Patient Safety at Risk

When it comes to Medicare fraud, much of the focus is on dollars and sense.  Unfortunately, greedy doctors and other healthcare providers can actually cause physical harm to patients.  Earlier this month I wrote about Farid Fata, a Detroit-area “doctor” convicted of healthcare fraud.  Fata subjected 500 or more of his patients to unnecessary, painful, and often dangerous cancer treatments simply so he could fraudulently charge insurance companies for expensive procedures.

How Can I Help?

Medicare fraud is a problem that costs taxpayers a lot of money every year.  There are ways you can help stop Medicare fraud and abuse.

If you suspect errors, abuse, or fraud, you can contact the Office of Inspector General or the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

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