Exclusives
FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+RSS Feed
Fire EMSEMS TodayEMS Insider

L.A. Ambulance Agency Included in Nationwide Healthcare Fraud Sting

AP120502113364

WASHINGTON - A federal strike force charged 91 doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals across the country in connection with phony bills totaling nearly $430 million - the latest in a series of busts by the Obama administration to attack rising government losses to health-care fraud.

"We are fighting back," Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said Thursday. "Today's takedown underscores the fact that federal efforts to combat health care fraud have been more strategic, more comprehensive, more effective."

His comments echoed those by President Barack Obama during the debate Wednesday with Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Obama said that, under his administration, "we went after medical fraud in Medicare and Medicaid very aggressively, more aggressively than ever before."

Since May 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force under the Department of Justice and Department of Health and Human Services has conducted a series of sweeps and arrested more than 1,480 defendants on suspicion of more than $4.8 billion in health care fraud.

Cities targeted for arrests in the last two days were Los Angeles, Miami, Dallas, Houston, Brooklyn and Baton Rouge, La. In Chicago, a dermatologist and psychologist were charged with falsely billing the government for millions of dollars in unneeded laser treatments and psychotherapy services.

In all, the new indictments allege more than $230 million in home health care fraud and more than $100 million in community health care schemes.

The Los Angeles defendants were involved in six separate cases alleged to have cost the federal government a total of more than $65 million in false billings to Medicare.

Timothy J. Delaney, acting assistant director in charge of the FBI's Los Angeles field office, said bills were routinely submitted for "inflated rates of service, or for services that were never provided," often for elderly patients.

These kinds of schemes, Delaney said, end up as "a cost borne by taxpayers."

According to court documents unsealed Thursday, four people affiliated with Los Angeles-based Alpha Ambulance Inc. submitted more than $49 million in phony billings to Medicare by creating fake documents for ambulance trips. The scheme ran for nearly five years, officials alleged, with the defendants making up reasons for ambulance rides, "even if one did not exist."

RELATED ARTICLES

Rescue and Recovery in Nepal

Death toll passes 4,000 and is expected to continue to rise as rescue teams search the ruins.

Nurse Falls From Texas Medical Helicopter

STAR Flight nurse’s death is the organization’s first on-duty death in 30-year history.

Drugs Stolen from Columbus Ambulances

Review finds broken and malfunctioning locks in 13 ambulances.

CDC Calls for Expanding Naloxone Use

Effort could reduce drug overdose deaths and save lives.

Rescue Efforts in Nepal

The latest on the devastating earthquake and the rescue response as the death toll climbs to over 3,700.

Virginia USAR Team Mobilizes for Nepal

Fairfax County Urban Search and Rescue team is on the way to quake site.

Features by Topic

JEMS Connect

CURRENT DISCUSSIONS

 
 

EMS BLOGS

Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

Featured Careers