New Medicare Fraud Strike Forces Announced in Brooklyn, Tampa and Baton Rouge -- Is Atlanta Next?

Previously, we wrote about the creation of the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Teams (HEAT), announced last fall as part of a joint Department of Justice and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) task force to combat Medicare fraud. The HEAT program also included Medicare Fraud Strike Forces in various cities, including Miami, Los Angeles, Detroit and Houston. Since their inception, these Strike Forces have indicted more than 475 individuals and organizations, which have collectively billed Medicare over $1 billion. For example, on January 14, 2010, the Justice Department announced another indictment, charging 13 individuals in Detroit with fraudulently billing Medicare more than $14.5 million. The allegations in this indictment claim that the defendants conspired to bill for home health therapy services that were either never provided or were medically unnecessary. Additionally, there are allegations that some defendants conspired to pay kickbacks to obtain patient referrals and access to Medicare beneficiaries.

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