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Where in the US there are the most fraudulent healthcare professionals: the leader has not changed for several years

South Florida continues to be # 1 for healthcare fraud. Theft costs Medicare billions a year, reports Yahoo.

Photo: Shutterstock

Billions of dollars of scams are infiltrating new health care areas such as telemedicine, drug addiction centers and COVID-19 programs, but US officials also say it still affects traditional areas such as medical equipment supply, home care, and pharmacies.

South Florida still ranks # XNUMX in the nation for health care fraud, officials said, draining federal taxpayer, Medicare and private-funded programs. insurance companies.

The region recently accounted for $ 308 million, or 20 percent of the $ 1,4 billion in false medical claims nationwide, according to a six-week analysis of criminal cases released Friday by the Justice Department of South Florida and other parts of the country.

Federal prosecutors in South Florida also indicted 52 health fraud accused, or more than one-third of the 138 accused prosecuted during the same time period. Among them are dozens of doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals across the country, including those accused of receiving bribes or kickbacks for treating patients or obtaining prescriptions.

“There is a lot of talk about South Florida as the capital of the nation in the fight against healthcare fraud,” said Acting US Attorney Tony Gonzalez, noting the high number of prosecutions in his office. “Whether it’s true or not, we are clearly one of the most aggressive offices to chase scammers. Indeed, we very carefully pursue all types of healthcare fraud.

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“In more ways the government is trying to help those in need, the more scammers are trying to take advantage of new programs, ”said Gonzalez. - The faster the government distributes money, the less strict the control should be. This, in turn, opens the door to fraudsters. "

Recent cases of healthcare fraud in South Florida:

  • Ricky Delancey, 30, from Miami, is accused of conspiracy to steal medical suppliessuch as the N95 masks from their workplace at Mount Sinai Hospital. According to the indictment, Delancey, who worked in the supply department of Miami Beach Hospital, stole the masks and sold them to a buyer in California for $ 55 last year. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mount Sinai lacked supplies for nurses, doctors, staff and patients, prosecutors said. At one point, only a three-day supply of N95 masks remained in the hospital.
  • Mimi Bieda, 62, and West Palm Beach, 36, Levi Bieda, accused of conspiracy to $ 128 million healthcare fraud... The Biedas family, which owned an addiction treatment center and several drug testing laboratories, is accused of hiring a medical director to sign orders for medically unnecessary and costly drug tests in exchange for referring patients.
  • Edward Pizzi, 40, from Miami, who owned Rios Medical Center and Union Medical Clinic, is accused of pay kickbacks to their employees for bringing Medicare beneficiaries to their clinics. The clinics allegedly used the identification numbers of these patients to submit claims for alleged mental health services that were not needed or provided.
  • Julio Cesar Betancourt, 31, of Hialeah Gardens, is accused of conspiracy to launder $ 363 healthcare fraud revenue from a Miami-based durable medical device company that committed healthcare fraud, prosecutors said.

The suspects' lawyers could not be reached for comment.

You may be interested in: top New York news, stories of our immigrants and helpful tips about life in the Big Apple - read it all on ForumDaily New York.

In the fiscal year ending September 30, the U.S. Attorney's Office filed health fraud cases against a total of 196 defendants accused of filing $ 2,2 billion in false medical claims and collecting $ 488 million in payments from Medicare and other insurance companies.

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