Thursday, March 01, 2012

Some More Good News

After three plus years of threatening to cut/privatize/end Medicare from the GOP and, in a somewhat muted fashion, the White House, we finally are getting some news that might suggest to those idiots a better way to cut the costs of this program which is so vital to the elders in our country.

Federal law enforcement officials announced charges in the largest healthcare fraud scam in the nation's history, indicting a Dallas-area physician for purportedly bilking Medicare of nearly $375 million after he reportedly sent out "recruiters" to round up patients and get them to sign for treatments he never provided. [Emphasis added]

Go read the story to see how this doctor set up his scheme (a nifty graphic shows the 'companies' he set up to keep under the radar). The raid on his home picked up records from a Cayman Islands bank, a passport along with several different passport photos, and the like. This guy way ready to leave at a moment's notice, but he wasn't given the time by the DOJ.

Here's what I considered to be the important part of the story:

Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr., in testimony Tuesday before a House Appropriations subcommittee, said federal prosecutors were fighting back. In the last fiscal year they recovered nearly $4.1 billion in funds "stolen or taken improperly from federal healthcare programs," he said. "This represents the highest amount ever recovered in a single year."

At the same time, Holder said, the Justice Department opened 1,100 new criminal healthcare fraud investigations, won more than 700 convictions, and initiated 1,000 civil healthcare fraud investigations.

In all, he said, for every dollar spent fighting healthcare fraud, "we've been able to return an average of $7 to the U.S. Treasury, the Medicare Trust Fund" and other government entities.

That's not a bad return on the investment, and if the DOJ succeeds in reclaiming that $375 million in this case from the Cayman bank account and gets a hefty fine, the figure should be even higher this year.

Yes, the investigations are long and costly, but this proves it's worth it. And, yes, the laws and regulations currently in place for Medicare and other health programs are complex. Then clean both parts up. These programs and this country's elders and other vulnerable citizens deserve it.

And Attorney General Holder: more like this please.

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Blogger Jeffraham Prestonian said...

I love you, Diane. But now, I haz a sad! I used to work for the firm that pulled off the previous record Medicare fraud, and now... well, dang. :)

4:44 PM  
Blogger ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

When Eric Holder gets around to Goldman Sachs and the other banksters who stole TRILLION$, I will be happy / fall off my dinosaur, Diane.

/ grumpy McGrumpus

4:49 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Good news indeed, Diane; thanks!

5:36 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

JP, evidently you weren't provident enough to make sure you got your cut. ;-)

Policing programs to prevent fraud, while also not doing it to be punitive or score political points is something Democrats need to learn. Nothing undid the great accomplishments of Food Stamps in ending malnutrition and hunger like the handful of college students who sold them for gas money (and other fraudsters). People saw that and believed Ronald Reagan's Welfare Queen fables because they had seen something suspicious and they hadn't seen any cops on the beat.

10:23 PM  

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