Last month I read a report that stated that the good old US government had paid out more than ninety two million of our hard earned dollars to Medicare fraud. It seems so called medical suppliers have been billing the government for wheelchairs and other pieces of home equipment for people who had already died. Not only had the patients died, but so had a large number of doctors who had originally prescribed whatever was needed.
Now, before I get too far into this article let me reiterate that this ninety two million dollars was the amount paid out by using the identification number of only dead doctors.
Did you get that? Only dead doctors.
Some of these doctors had died at least five years earlier. It seems that the Medicare system currently is holding nearly 2,900 identification numbers as active for doctors that are known to be deceased. The might be dead, but they are still issuing prescriptions.
Doesn’t this make you proud?
The report goes on to say that the investigators pulled 1500 doctors names at random and asked them to submit medical equipment claims for the years 2000 and 2007. They found that 734 dead doctors had filed a total of 21,458 claims during that period. To compound the problem the federal investigators only counted claims that were submitted more than a year after the doctor had died.
Makes you wonder how many more were out there doesn’t it?
It seems the feds obtained a list of deceased doctors from the American Medical Association and then compared claims made by those physicians and from that data they determined that a fraud had been committed.
Now, I don’t know about you, but it would seem to me that the government should be able to match up the names of dead people against a database of people making claims for services. Especially if the guy making claims has been dead for a period of one to five years.
No wonder we can’t find Osama. For all we know old Osama might be living in the big apple and selling hot dogs in Central Park. If we can’t deny claims made by a guy who has been dead for a number of years, how would we know if someone like Osama isn’t living here in the US of A?
I don’t expect much to come of this ‘huge’ government investigation. I predict it will all go away and nothing of any importance will be done. Some years ago, after my mother died, I continue to receive copies of invoices sent to Medicare for a wheelchair and a cane, which she never had gotten. These invoices keep coming for about 5 or 6 months after she died. I wrote to Medicare and explained that I thought this was fraud since she had been dead for a period of time and had never used a cane or a wheelchair.
You know how a letter looks when its’ been through the copier a couple of hundred times? Well, that’s what I got. A form letter that had been copied so many times it was hard to read. No phone number, no case number, no nothing except a form letter telling me ‘they’ would look into my complaint and ‘thoroughly’ investigate for any wrongdoing.
Lots of luck. I can tell you the chances of that happening are slim and none.
Medicare officials said they were making the system more ‘fraud’ proof by matching up the social security numbers of deceased Americans against doctors filing claims. I don’t know about you, but I would have thought they were doing this from the start.
All, I know is that if I were to try any of this, the FBI, CIA , IRS and God knows who else would be on me like a duck on a June bug. I’d never get dollar one.
But there is hope…..a spokesman for Medicare says that “Before our current reforms, anyone could become a supplier, but now they must be fully accredited based on strict financial and quality standards.”
Excuse me, but I think I heard the barn door slam.
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