Examining Florida Medicare Fraud Strike Force
The Christian Science Monitor on Tuesday examined how the Florida Medicare Fraud Strike Force last year combined "traditional investigative methods and heightened inter agency cooperation to quickly identify patterns of irregular billing" to charge 197 defendants, who accounted for 25% of defendants in Medicare fraud cases in the U.S.
According to the Monitor,state and federal officials established the task force in March 2007 as a"joint experiment" that involved the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Miami and CMS to address Medicare fraud in the South Florida area, a region considered the"country's worst offender."
Alexander Acosta, U.S.attorney in Miami, said, "Four years ago,there were maybe one-quarter the number of the cases that we're bringing now" in South Florida, adding, "Doesthat mean the fraud wasn't here? No. That just means we weren't looking for the fraud." Kirk Ogrosky, who manages the strike force for the Department of Justice, said that other areas of the nation -- such as the Los Angeles and Houston regions -- have begun similar efforts based on the effort in the South Florida area (Frogameni, Christian Science Monitor,3/25).
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