The string of headlines involving several local busts of fraudulent HIV/AIDS treatment facilities milking medicare for money was no coincidence. Two years ago the justice department begin specifically targeting medicare fraud in the city.
After success in Miami and then Los Angeles, today Attorney General Eric Holder and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced they will expand Justice Department health-care strike forces to other cities, like Detroit and Houston.
Federal prosecutors operating out of the criminal division's fraud section in the District debuted the strike forces in Miami two years ago before moving west to Los Angeles. They targeted fraud involving costly HIV/AIDS drugs and durable medical equipment, such as wheelchairs. The teams have filed criminal charges against 196 defendants, the vast majority of which have produced guilty pleas.
Today government officials estimated that the efforts in Miami alone might have saved $334 million in fraudulent medical equipment claims and more than $1.7 billion in phony Medicare billings.
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Estimates suggest that 3% of health-care spending in America is lost to fraud each year.