KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Health Care Fraud Roundup: 30-Year Sentence For Doctor Upheld; Ky. Cracks Down

The Miami Herald: An appeals court has upheld a 30-year prison term for a Medicare fraudster in Florida. Dr. Ana Alvarez-Jacinto, a Miami endocrinologist, was convicted of health care fraud and sentenced to 30 years behind bars. The punishment was "considered a shocker when it was delivered in late 2008." But, it "was just upheld in a federal appellate court ruling written by a retired U.S. Supreme Court justice. Sandra Day O'Connor, sitting as a guest panelist on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, wrote that the lengthy sentence for Alvarez-Jacinto was justified and credited the trial judge's reasoning." Alvarez-Jacinto cost taxpayers $8 million by writing phony prescriptions for supposed HIV patients who got kickbacks in the scam (Weaver, 10/21).

Also in fraud news, the Louisville, Ky., Courier-Journal reports, "Kentucky has awarded a contract to a Minnesota company to try to help it reduce waste and fraud in the state's $6 billion-a-year Medicaid program. Gov. Steve Beshear announced that the Cabinet for Health and Family Services will hire Ingenix to try to detect abusive practices and recover funds lost to waste and fraud. The company will use audits, reviews of payments and other means to identify and recover misspent funds, the governor's office said" (Yetter, 10/20).

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