According to a Department of Health and Human Services news release issued on Thursday, February 17, 2010, the Medicare Strike Force has indicted 111 health care providers for allegedly billing false claims to Medicare. HHS called this the "largest ever federal health care fraud takedown."
21 defendants were arrested in Detroit for allegations of billing false claims including home health care, nerve conduction tests, psychotherapy, physical therapy and podiatry. Arrests were also made in Florida, New York, Texas, California, Louisiana and Illinois.
HHS also announced that it is expanding Strike Force operations to two additional cities - Chicago and Dallas. Cities already under scrutiny of the Strike Force include Detroit, Miami, Houston, Brooklyn, Tampa and Baton Rouge.
These criminal indictments are in addition to a trend of very aggressive auditing that is taking place through various contractors including RACs, ZPICs, MICs and MACs. Providers are innocent until proven guilty and often have audits going on at the same time as criminal charges. Aggressive defense of such audits is extremely important. Providers who have been targeted through fraud investigations or Medicare audits should seek qualified health care counsel to vigorously defend their case. For more information on defense of false claims allegations, Medicare fraud investigations or Medicare audit defense, please contact a Wachler & Associates attorney.