On July 13, 2013, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Department of Health and Human Services announced the largest ever health care fraud enforcement action by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, involving 412 charged defendants (including doctors, nurses, and other licensed medical professional) for alleged health care fraud schemes. Of the 412 defendants, over 120 of those were charged for their roles in prescribing and distributing opioids and other controlled substances.
The charges were for medically unnecessary prescription drugs and medications that were never purchased or distributed but were billed to Medicare, Medicaid, or Tricare (insurance for military personnel, Veterans, and their families). The charges had a particular focus on medical professionals involved in unlawful distribution of opioids and other controlled substances.
In one case, nine defendants were charged with prescribing medically unnecessary controlled substances, some of which were sold on the street, and billing Medicare for one hundred and sixty-four million dollars for medically unnecessary services or services that were not provided. In another case, a physician and clinic owner were indicted on one count of conspiracy to distribute and dispense controlled substances and three substantive counts of distribution of controlled substances in connection with a supposed pain management clinic that is said to have been the highest prescribing Norco clinic in Houston. There are similar charges made to defendants in Connecticut, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, and other states.
Approximately 91 Americans die every day of an opioid related overdose and the United States is in the middle of an unprecedented opioid epidemic. It is good news if some of the individuals responsible for contributing to this major and deadly health issue are put out of business.
If you, or someone you know, needs assistance in withdrawing from drugs or alcohol or treatment for addiction please contact the New Bridge Foundation’s admissions department at (866) 772-8491 for a free assessment.