412 people charged over United States health fraud schemes worth £1 billion

DARE holds annual conference in Grapevine

"Too many trusted medical professionals.have chosen to violate their oaths and put greed ahead of their patients, " Sessions said. "Amazingly, some have made their practices into multimillion dollar criminal enterprises".

Over 200 healthcare providers are in the process of being suspended or banned from participating in federal healthcare programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid.

In total, Sessions said 412 people, including 56 doctors, were charged with defrauding federal health programs of $1.3 billion.

"They seem oblivious to the disastrous consequences of their greed", Sessions said during the news conference. "In filling out the SF-86 form, the Attorney General's staff consulted with those familiar with the process, as well as the FBI investigator handling the background check, and was instructed not to list meetings with foreign dignitaries and their staff connected with his Senate activities", said Justice Department spokesman Ian Prior.

The opioid addiction epidemic has attracted fraudsters who "look at this national scourge, and they see an opportunity to profit from their fellow citizen's suffering and pain", said Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. Those arrested included 120 doctors and other people charged for their roles in prescribing and distributing opioid painkillers.

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"We must address prescribers with questionable prescribing patterns for opioids to ensure that Medicare Part D is not paying for unnecessary drugs that are being diverted for resale or recreational use", the OIG concluded.

Authorities spotlighted a Palm Beach County sober-homes facility for Medicare patients with substance abuse problems, saying the owners and others submitted $58 million in Medicare claims for bogus drug treatment services. In Michigan, the US charged 32 people with billing Medicare for procedures and prescriptions that were medically unnecessary and where some of the narcotics were resold on the street.

"Narcotics officers have arrested schoolteachers, doctors, nurses and fellow law enforcement personnel", said acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe.

Over 300 agents from the HHS Office of the Inspector General were involved in the crackdown, along with 30 state Medicare fraud units and 370 Federal Bureau of Investigation agents.

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