DOJ busts 115 medical professionals in $1.3B fraud case

DOJ busts 115 medical professionals in $1.3B fraud case”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Thursday that 412 people - including 115 doctors and other health care providers - have been charged in health care fraud schemes resulting in $1.3 billion in "false billings".

The indictments were announced as the culmination of multiple investigations that were part of "Healthcare Fraud Takedown Week", an initiative led by the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Among those charged are six MI doctors accused of a scheme to prescribe unnecessary opioids.

The busts also constitute the largest opioid-related fraud charging in US history-120 of the defendants, including doctors, face charges for their role in prescribing and distributing opioids and other narcotics.

Those charged include 56 medical doctors, six of them part of a MI scheme that allegedly prescribed unnecessary opioids to patients and sent $164 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicaid. He is alleged to have been paid tens of thousands of dollars both directly and indirectly by certain pharmacies for referring compounded medication prescriptions.

In one instance a fake rehab facility in Palm Beach, Fla., allegedly recruited drug addicts with monetary incentives in order to mask false medical claims of $58 million, according to a statement released Thursday.

The arrests could also have a major impact beyond those charged as HHS has initiated suspension actions against 295 providers, including doctors, nurses, and pharmacists. "These people inflicted a special kind of damage". "When licensed professionals and organizations target those who rely on Medicaid, they're also putting taxpayers on the hook".

"An American dies of a drug overdose every 11 minutes, and more than two million Americans are trapped by their addiction to painkillers and prescription", said Mr. Sessions.

The heavy-handed move came at a time when opioid-related drugs were becoming an epidemic in especially rural regions in the US.

The barely controlled pumping of hundreds of millions of doses of opioids into United States communities during the past decade is blamed for a sharp surge in addiction, with an estimated two million to three million people hooked on prescription painkillers or heroin, according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

He said the arrests were just a beginning, and efforts to find, prosecute, and incarcerate fraudsters and drug dealers would continue.

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