South Florida Medicare Fraud Prosecution Cases Increase
In the past 12 months, 245 South Florida defendants have been charged with filing nearly $793.5 million in false Medicare claims, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida R. Alexander Acosta said on Tuesday, the Miami Herald reports. Acosta credited the federal Medicare Fraud Strike Force for increasing the number of prosecutions.
In 2007, 197 defendants were prosecuted on charges of submitting $638 million in false Medicare claims, and 111 defendants in 2006 were indicted on charges of billing $138 million in false claims, the Herald reports.
Most of the prosecutions involved medical equipment operators and HIV clinics. Acosta said, "We're getting much better at catching them." However, Acosta said that increased efforts to prosecute offenders will not resolve the problem and that CMS should be more aggressive in detecting and rejecting claims that raise suspicion. "The only way we're going to stop the fraud is through prevention," he said (Weaver, Miami Herald, 10/1).
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