Houston is at the center of a big sweep against Medicare fraud announced today by the feds. A grand jury here issued indictments involving more than $16 million in fraud, and agents went out today and arrested 32 people in Houston, New York, Boston and Louisiana.
Sayeth the feds:
The Strike Force operations in Houston have identified the primary fraud schemes as those related to false billing for "arthritis kits," power wheelchairs and enteral feeding supplies.
According to the indictments, the defendants charged today participated in schemes to submit claims to Medicare for products that were in fact medically unnecessary and oftentimes, never provided. In some cases, indictments allege that beneficiaries were deceased at the time they allegedly received the items.
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Dead men tell no tales, but they can buy enteral feeding supplies, apparently. And allegedly.
Power wheelchairs seemed to be the weapon of choice for most of the alleged fraudsters arrested today, with arthritis kits coming in second.
The DOJ press release include a long list of political figures offering quotes about the defense of honest, tax-paying Americans from fraud; we'll give you a taste with U.S. Attorney Tim Johnson.
He said, "Americans deserve quality healthcare and have the right to expect that money expended on Medicare is not wasted. We will prosecute anyone who fraudulently obtains Medicare benefits at the expense of the truly needy."