In the latest government blow against rampant Medicare fraud, two doctors and a registered nurse in New Orleans were given stiff prison sentences and millions of dollars in fines this week in federal court for their roles in a long-term $50 million scheme.
The trio and a fourth defendant were convicted of submitting roughly 8,000 fraudulent Medicare claims over a six-year period for referring patients to Memorial Home Health Inc. and three other “sham companies” for “medically unnecessary” home health services and treatment, according to a federal indictment reported by The Times-Picayune. In many cases, the treatments were never rendered.
The blatant rip-off of the federal health care program for seniors in New Orleans would be startling if it wasn’t for the fact that it has become almost commonplace throughout the country. In 2014, federal authorities recovered roughly $5.7 billion in healthcare fraud cases, or $1.9 billion more than recovered the prior year. Of that amount, $2.3 billion was linked to healthcare fraud against the federal government, according to a recent review by the firm of Bass, Berry & Sims PLC in Nashville.