According to the Houston Chronicle, there’s a federal Medicare fraud strike force on the loose in Texas.
The article highlights a number of Houston-area clinics committing Medicare fraud. Medicare fraud in the U.S. last year totaled $2.35 billion. There were 575 health fraud criminal actions and 342 civil actions filed. The task force has reduced identification of Medicare fraud from months to days, thanks to improved technology. Justice Department spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz said, “There are ongoing investigations in Houston that I can’t talk about. But we expect more arrests to occur.”
Home health care is on the hot seat as well. This type of care is growing, as more elderly folks and retiring baby boomers want to remain in their homes instead of nursing homes, and federal scrutiny will only increase. As expected, lack of federal funds was cited as an excuse for fraud.
“There’s not enough money in the Medicare and Medicaid system to pay for what patients need now,” physician William Gilmer said. “A few unscrupulous people can hurt everyone from the innocent patients to the doctors trying to treat them.”