Feds bust dozens for Medicare scams

The feds had a red letter day for Medicare fraud busts yesterday, arresting more than 30 suspects in New York, Louisiana, Massachusetts and Texas for a range of scams including "arthritis kits"--costly braces that were never used by many of the patients who got them.

The $16 million series of arrests involved 200 agents and 12 search warrants for healthcare businesses and homes across the Houston area, where the majority of the busts took place. The businesses where the arrests took place were giving the patients so-called "arthritis kits," actually just costly orthotics including knee and shoulder braces and heating pads. The clinic owners who supplied these useless items billed Medicare between $3,000 and $4,000 for each kit.

Some of the clinic owners also billed Medicare for thousands in liquid food like Ensure, designed for patients who can't eat solid food. The food was never distributed. So brazen was the scheme that in some cases, clinic owners billed dead patients for the items.

To learn more about the big bust:
- read this Associated Press piece

Related Articles:
Medicare fraud strike force charges 53 providers, execs and beneficiaries
Federal law would further fight government healthcare fraud
South Florida stands out as leader in Medicare fraud
CMS fights fraud in CA and FL