Healthcare Fraud Crackdown Expanded in Miami-Dade County

Jun 23, 2009   

Efforts to crack down on Medicare and Medicaid fraud has focused the radars of federal and state law enforcement onto the Miami-Dade county area. On June 19, 2009, state investigators from the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (“AHCA”) revealed more Medicaid fraud in Miami-Dade: the state paid for unnecessary or unaccounted oxygen equipment.

Recent government studies have estimated Medicare and Medicaid fraud to be at least $60 billion a year nationwide. According to the FBI and the Department of Justice, Medicare and Medicaid fraud is big business in Miami Dade County reaching at least $2.5 billion a year.

Fraudulent billing for medical equipment is the latest scam plaguing Medicaid which, according to the AHCA, spent over $90 million on medical equipment last year alone. When over $1.4 million was spent on oxygen equipment in Miami-Dade County last year, this raised the suspicions of the AHCA.

Attempts to curb Medicaid and Medicare fraud in South Florida are nothing new. In March, Medicaid investigators commenced similar investigations of Miami-Dade’s home health industry. On June 15th, Governor Charlie Christ signed into law a bill that declared Miami-Dade a “crisis area for healthcare fraud” and tightened regulations on home health agencies, home medical equipment providers, and health care clinics.

These recent efforts by the state come on top of increased efforts by the federal government to stem the tide of fraud and wasteful government spending in Medicare and Medicaid. The first of these efforts, the Medicare Strike Force, was started in 2007. In two years, federal prosecutors have filed 87 indictments charging 159 defendants with fraud offenses. This past May, the federal government announced a new task force – the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Team, or HEAT – which will increase healthcare fraud enforcement in Miami-Dade County.

With increased efforts of law enforcement cracking down on the industry, let FHI help your health care business with its regulatory compliance. Contact us at 305-350-5690 or contact@fidjlaw.com.