Just the Beginning: Largest Healthcare Fraud Takedown Ever Targets Unnecessary Prescriptions; AG Says More Coming
July 24, 2017 | Physician Practice News
More than 400 individuals, including about 50 doctors, were charged in the largest healthcare fraud takedown ever, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on July 13, 2017. In addition, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services initiated suspensions against 295 providers. The arrests, made by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force acting with state Medicare fraud control units, spread across more than 20 states over the course of a week. The actions "aggressively target" schemes in which Medicare, Medicaid, and TRICARE were billed for unnecessary prescription drugs. Around one third of the charges were related to unlawful distribution of opioids, which DOJ said was its focus. "Too many trusted medical professionals like doctors, nurses, and pharmacists have chosen to violate their oaths and put greed ahead of their patients," Attorney General (AG) Jeff Sessions said, adding that DOJ's focus on cracking down on drug-related crimes "is just beginning."