Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Shell Companies Steal Millions In Medicare Fraud

FierceHealthcare has;

December 22, 2011 — 1:10pm ET | By

Shell companies--sham firms on paper with no real operations--are a prime tool for fraudsters to scam Medicare out of millions of dollars, according to a Reuters investigation. Medicare's current pay-and-chase system has holes that allow providers (or imposter providers) to bill Medicare for services and then steal millions of dollars from the federal health program.

For instance, Florida authorities charged Michel De Jesus Huarte for his role in setting up fake AIDS clinics in Florida, but not before he billed Medicare for more than $4.5 million and formed at least 29 other shell companies in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina and South Carolina, Reuters reports. Huarte and co-conspirators formed clinics purported to treat HIV and AIDS patients and submitted claims for expensive drugs such as Infliximab and Rituxan, costing Medicare as much as $7,800 per dose.

"This is a 'Catch Me If You Can' environment," said Ryan K. Stumphauzer, a former assistant U.S. attorney with the Department of Justice in Miami who prosecuted Huarte. "We had no clue who Huarte was. We had no idea there was some mastermind out there."

The strategy of shell companies can go unnoticed for years. Scam artists use fake names and addresses for corporations or real information from others. In Florida, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents said almost every Medicare fraud case involved a shell company.

Florida, where the fake AIDS clinic scheme took place, is one of five states that tops the list for the most Medicaid fraud activity, according to a recent Office of Inspector General report issued in October; the other states are New York, Texas, California and Ohio.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) last month announced that hospitals soon will be subject to prepayment audits, with aims to fix the traditional pay-and-chase method. Effective January 2012, Medicare recovery audit contractors (RAC) in 11 states will conduct reviews of inpatient claims before payment. Those states will be areas that have high fraud and error-prone providers (Florida, California, Michigan, Texas, New York, Louisiana and Illinois), as well as those states with high claims volumes of short hospital stays (Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina and Montana).

Although the government has expanded its Medicare Strike Force with increased focus on acute-care and critical access hospitals, senators this week are pushing for better assessment of Medicare fraud detection.

CMS plans to launch a new predictive modeling program nationwide this summer, in which the analysis tool will flag common patterns of Medicare fraud, such as suspicious billing patterns or a great distance between the hospital where treatment occurred and the claimant's home address, reports Nextgov.

Senate Federal Financial Management Subcommittee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.), Ranking Member Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) on Tuesday requested CMS outline its plans to launch the predictive analytics technology and stated that CMS may not have sufficient metrics and processes in place as part of a comprehensive plan to ensure the success of identifying and preventing fraud.

For more information:
- read the
press release on Huarte's charges
- read the Reuters
- read the
Nextgov article
- here's the Senate
press release
Related Articles:CMS inaction leaves system holes for fraud, abuse
Gov't recovers record-high $2.8B in whistleblower fraud cases
Home health owners plead guilty to $1M Medicare fraud
Feds' $5.6B fraud collection hits record high
Hospitals worried about Medicare RAC prepayment audits

Thank You Fierce Healthcare and Ms Cheung

And California made the list.

We´re Shocked, I tell you. Shocked and Amazed. Simply Shocked: when San Francisco blew $200 Million in 1 year dispensing Opinions of Mystic, Dual Diagnosed Incurables, .....

under the watchful eye of a Chief Psychiatrist, Dr Francis G Lu, who actually believes that his Movie Reviews, and disappearing brick and mortar Hospitals non staffed by non-existent Psychiatric Psychiatrists, qualify him to tell the world, ..... that he's an Illuminati.

You Might want to contrast San Francisco's $200 Million epidemic of Disease Mongering with the State of Illinois carping that it couldn't Afford to Investigate 85% of the Complaints it got, about Hospitals, ...... because it could only scrape up, ..... even WITH matching Federal Funds, ..... just under a $Half Million.

Fierce Healthcare has;
November 9, 2011 — 12:46pm ET | By
"Due to limited state funds, the Illinois Department of Public Health declined to investigate 85 percent of the 560 hospital complaints it received last year, reported the Chicago Tribune this week. Some of the complaints included reports of serious patient abuse and poor infection control, according to the article.

"These are serious complaints," said Lisa McGiffert, director of the national Consumers Union Safe Patient Project. "If the regulatory system is collecting these complaints and not responding, that is a massive failure of oversight."
The state in 2010 spent $498,000 on hospital oversight with half the funds coming from the federal government and the other half from the state. Article

Thank You Fierce Healthcare and Ms Cheung.
Does anyone still have a problem spelling Protectionist?

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