Federal agents raided dozens of doctors’ offices and homes during investigations into alleged Medicare fraud. As part of the government’s effort to reform health care and save money, the federal government is focusing on Medicare fraud and what they say are millions of dollars that are fraudulently taken from the government pursuant to the Medicare laws. The recent raids occurred in Houston, New York, Boston and Louisiana. In Houston alone, thirty-two indictments were recently unsealed charging $16 million in Medicare fraud claims.
Medicare fraud can be committed in various ways, but it often involves a doctor or someone in a doctor’s office billing Medicare for supplies that were not medically necessary and/or never provided to the patient. Under the Medicare laws, when a doctor prescribes a medical product, such as a wheelchair, to a patient, the doctor has a right to reimbursement from the government. In this case and other cases of Medicare fraud, the government alleges that the medical supplies were unnecessary and/or the medical supplies were never given to the patient and the doctor pocketed the reimbursement money. In this case, wheelchairs, arthritis kits and tube feeding supplies were the most common supplies that were the subjects of the alleged Medicare fraud.
Due to its relatively large elderly population, Medicare fraud is a significant issue in Florida. With the publicity surrounding health care reform, wasted money in the health care industry and the enormous tax burden on the public, it is likely that the federal government and state law enforcement in Florida will continue to investigate doctors for Medicare fraud.