Monday, May 10, 2010

Dead doctors still making millions from Medicare billings

Medicare issued as much as $92 million in payments between 2000 and 2007 for medical procedures or devices ordered under the names of doctors who had already died, according to a 2008 Senate committee report.

Prescriptions written in the names of deceased doctors are only one of the fraudulent techniques that plague the U.S. health care system, which has become a favorite target for organized crime.

"There are so many schemes involved," said John Gillies, a special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). "Take any aspect of the healthcare industry and there's a fraud going on in there right now."

Medicare and other healthcare fraud have been targeted as major areas for reform by politicians seeking to reduce the country's medical spending. According to the FBI, between 3 and 10 percent of the country's yearly healthcare spending goes to fraud, or $200 billion. This is consistent with an October 2009 Thompson Reuters report, which estimated that fraud cost the U.S. healthcare system more than $220 billion in 2007, or 10 percent of its total spending. Read more...

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