Medicare fraud task forces set to expand, supported by congress
Posted on August 10, 2010 3:00 AM EST
The federal government is getting ready to once again increase their efforts to eradicate or at least reduce Medicare fraud
. The federal government is getting ready to once again increase their efforts to eradicate or at least reduce Medicare fraud. President Obama has requested $1.7 billion to investigate and prosecute healthcare fraud. The money will be used to triple the numbers of investigations into Medicare fraud rings. The money which is part of the 2011 spending bill for Health and Human Services will increase by more than $250 million. Almost half of the budget is intended expand the number the Medicare fraud task forces from seven to 20 cities. With the increased budget, Miami criminal defense attorneys
will continue to see numerous arrests and indictments being filed in federal court.
Private healthcare companies are applauding the increased spending. United Health Group, Humana, Inc., along with other private insurer's claim to suffer losses as a result of healthcare fraud, much like Medicare and that increased spending will help reduce the number of fraudulent claims they receive and may ultimately pay. The increased budget will also be used to pay for information-technology upgrades which include software used to detect fraud. Only time will tell if the two pronged approach to combating healthcare fraud will reduce the amount of fraud in the system.
The current Medicare fraud task forces have stopped schemes to defraud the federal government out of $1.9 billion. The investigations have led to the arrests and indictments in federal court of over 800 people. Investigators claim that is impossible to calculate the amount of defraud that the task forces have prevented. The task forces appear to being working both in Miami-Dade and Broward as South Florida saw a $1.2 billion decrease in the purchasing of home healthcare medical equipment.
With the bloated deficit in this country, many oppose the increased spending in the battle against healthcare fraud. The President and his staff claim that the anti-fraud budget increases will pay for themselves eventually over the next decade. Proponents of the increased spending programs do not believe that additional task forces should be created, but that the existing task forces that exist in Miami, New York and Loa Angeles to name a few should be beefed up to battle the hotbeds for Medicare and healthcare fraud.
The good news is that the legislation is stuck in Congress due to partisan infighting which is not uncommon with our current legislation. If there is a shift in the majority of the House of Representatives or Senate, the passage of the bill will be all that more unlikely. Whether the bill is past or not, you can believe that the task force working South Florida will continue to investigate and make arrests in these types of cases. If you are contacted by law enforcement regarding a fraud investigation contact a criminal as soon as possible to protect your rights. The sentences being handed down in South Florida federal court
generally range from 30 to 60 months depending on the amount of the loss to the government.
Government Fraud Strike Forces to Expand under Obama Spending Plans
, Bloomberg.com, August 6, 2010.