- Ron Hosko
- Assistant Director, Criminal Investigative Division
- Federal Bureau of Investigation
- Press Conference Announcing Medicare Fraud Strike Force Takedown, U.S. Department of Justice
- Washington, D.C.
- May 14, 2013
Remarks prepared for delivery.
Good afternoon. As the attorney general and Secretary Sebelius have noted, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force is seeing significant success. Our partnerships are bringing to justice those willing to defraud public and private health plans.
We’re seeing health care crime of all types and levels of providers. It involves traditional provider fraud—such as durable medical equipment—and numerous other providers, such as home health care and mental health services. These crimes include individual providers as well as corporate-level fraud schemes.
Since HEAT [Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team] was created—we’ve increased the Medicare Fraud Strike Force cities to nine—Baton Rouge, Brooklyn, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, and Tampa.
To give you an example of a case—the owner and operators of a network of home health agencies in Michigan were using prescription narcotics to bribe beneficiaries for use of their Medicare information to submit fraudulent claims.
One statistic that should stand out to the general public—23 percent of the people charged in this takedown are doctors and other medical professionals. Those doctors were trusted by patients with their well-being—instead, those doctors broke the law for their own benefit.
We are committed to preventing and prosecuting health care fraud at all levels and types of providers.
But we can’t do it alone. We need the public to take a few easy steps to prevent and stop fraud.
First, everyone should report suspicious activity. An example—marketers offering money or gifts to patients for medical services.
Second, review the explanation of benefits forms sent by your insurance company—don’t ignore them. If you see any bills for services you didn’t receive—immediately contact your insurance company.
Third, protect your insurance cards and numbers the same way you would protect your credit cards and other identification numbers. Make sure there is a legitimate reason to give anyone that information.
We all feel the effects of health care fraud. It leads to higher health care costs and makes it harder for seniors and those who are ill to get the care they need.
We can work together to ensure your hard-earned dollars are used to care for the sick. And we can keep our nation’s health care system strong for those who need it.