US charges hundreds in major healthcare fraud, opioid crackdown

U.S. charges 601 people in health care fraud opioid takedown

Feds charge 600 in opioid fraud that bilked $2B from government and insurers

More than 600 medical professionals across the United States now face charges in connection with the "largest (ever) health care fraud crackdown", the us attorney's office said Thursday.

The Department of Health and Human Services also announced that since July 2017, it has excluded over 2,700 individuals and 587 providers from Medicare and Medicaid "for conduct related to opioid diversion and abuse" - including 67 doctors, 402 nurses, and 40 pharmacy services.

The hundreds of suspects charged included 162 doctors and other suspects charged for their roles in prescribing and distributing addictive opioid painkillers. Today the Department of Justice is announcing the largest health care fraud enforcement action in American history.

The alleged schemes involved medically unnecessary prescription narcotics that often were not distributed to patients, according to the Justice Department.

The charges, while announced together, include a number of unrelated cases, including 84 opioid cases involving more than 13 million illegal doses of opioids.

The alleged fraud involved false billing to Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE military health insurance and private insurance companies, according to the DOJ. Kitco Metals Inc. and the author of this article do not accept culpability for losses and/ or damages arising from the use of this publication.

Greenberg focused on the theme of fighting scofflaw drug treatment centers and sober homes for opioid addicts during his presentation, which echoed a news conference led by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in Washington, D.C. Sessions has made fighting the nation's opioid crisis, fueled by an average of 115 overdose deaths every day, a top priority of the Trump administration.

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That data, HHS Deputy Inspector General Gary Cantrell said, had enabled the agency to identify 300 prescribers "whose questionable opioid prescribing is worthy of further investigation". "Some of our most trusted medical officials - professionals look at their patients, vulnerable people suffering from addiction, and they see dollar signs", said Sessions.

"It is not that we are over-regulating, but doctors and medical practitioners are more aware", he said.

In numerous cases patient recruiters, beneficiaries and others involved in the schemes were paid cash kickbacks in return for supplying beneficiary information to providers, allowing the providers to submit fraudulent bills to Medicare, according to court documents.

Those charged were accused of cheating federal health programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, through false billing practices.

The U.S. Attorney's Office, through separate informations filed in U.S. District Court, and all with associated plea agreements charged Global Operations Manager JEFFREY SOUTH, District Manager ANGIE NELSON, sales representatives RODDRICK BOYKIN and DAWN WHITTEN, and biller STACEY CARDOZO. They were all participants in fraud schemes, which resulted in the Department of health lost more than $ 2 billion.

The charged podiatrists, Domenic Signorelli, 51, of Irvine, and Robert Joseph, 51, of Huntington Beach, along with several other unnamed co-conspirator doctors, allegedly received kickbacks for "writing" the prescriptions.

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