MEDICARE FRAUD SPREADS TO MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES

Photobucket SOUTH FLORIDA (JULY 14, 2011) – Just when law enforcement was getting a handle on the pill mills that proliferate the Florida healthcare market, a new wave of fraudulent therapy claims have picked up where the pill mill scammers left off.
As federal agents have cracked down on Florida’s pill mills and confiscated drugs from bogus pain clinics, Medicare schemers have had to devise a new plan to continue to bilk the federal health insurance plan out of the millions that fraudulent claims earn them each year. Criminals have turned their attention to Florida’s mental health and rehabilitation clinics. Last year, Florida outshone both Texas and Michigan in Medicare mental health claims with a whopping $421 million. Florida’s led New York and California with its rehab clinics billing more than $310 million for physical and speech therapy. Some of those claims are legitimate, but officials believe Florida’s claims shouldn’t dwarf those of the larger states.
Historically Medicare has paid claims quickly without verifying their validity. With recent new legislation and a new national computerized database, federal and state law enforcement expect a slowdown in the number of fraudulent claims. As Florida is the primary hotbed of Medicare fraud, this Friday, July 15 it will host the country’s first healthcare fraud summit in Miami with Attorney General Eric Holder and the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Katheleen Sebelius.