KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Gangs Increasingly Involved In Medicare Fraud

ABC News: "Gangs across the country are arming themselves with powerful weapons to bilk taxpayers out of billions of dollars through Medicare fraud. What used to be a mostly non-violent, white collar crime has turned potentially deadly, and Federal agents who once combed through paperwork are now firing rounds at the shooting range to prepare for extreme dangers. 'Our folks are out there engaging a criminal element that is dangerous,' said Jay Hodes, an agent with the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General. … One estimate suggests that criminals steal some $60 billion from the federal government via healthcare fraud every year. They commit the fraud by recruiting people with clean records who then apply for Medicare vendor licenses. Websites walk them through the process, step-by-step.'"

"'We are seeing a variety of different groups who are attracted to healthcare fraud,' said [Tim Menke, the chief of investigations for the HHS Office of the Inspector General.] 'In California, we see Armenians. In Texas we see Nigerians. In Florida, Cubans. And in the Northeast we'll see Ukranians and Russians'" (Thomas, 4/26). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.