No matter what one may think of President Trump, the criticism that his administration is incompetent and does nothing continues to be proven inaccurate. Today’s news of a shake-up and takedown of fraudsters — many of them licensed physicians — in the healthcare sector is no exception.
Jeff Sessions’ Justice Department has brought charges against 412 people for $1.3 billion in health-care fraud, according to reports Thursday.
This is the largest takedown in the healthcare industry according to The Washington Post, and is part and parcel of what’s being done to address the opioid epidemic affecting, at last count, approximately 2 million people and sweeping the nation. Many of the alleged fraudsters are accused of over or wrongly prescribing opioid medications.
“Too many trusted medical professionals like doctors and nurses and pharmacists have chosen to violate their oaths and put greed ahead of their patients,” Sessions said. “Amazingly, some have made the practices into multimillion dollar criminal enterprises. They seem oblivious to the disastrous consequences of their greed.”
According to The Post, “many of the charges were related to doctors unnecessarily prescribing opioids, which then ended up on sale on the street.”
One fake rehab facility in Palm Beach, Fla., recruited addicts with gift cards, drugs and trips to casinos and strip clubs and then billed insurance companies for $58 million in false treatments and tests, according to the charges. In Texas, a doctor and clinic owner are accused of accepting $300 cash per patient for unnecessary hydrocodone prescriptions.
Alleged fraudsters, which includes 56 doctors, are also accused of improperly billing Medicare and Medicaid for unnecessary opiod and other prescriptions, as well as for administering fake tests and treatments.
The case shines a light on “the enormity of the fraud challenge we face,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions told reporters. “The problem is compounded by the fact that our country is in the midst of the deadliest drug crisis in our history.”
Given that many states affected by the opioid crisis have gone on record as opposed to a proposed roll back of Medicaid expansion once a new healthcare bill is passed because those funds have been used to treat opioid addiction, the investigation has the potential to temper or outright change the focus of some of that pushback.