South Florida stands out as leader in Medicare fraud

Time after time, the evidence shows up that South Florida is among the fraud capitals of the U.S. A recent report from the HHS Office of the Inspector General only adds to the litany of complaints, noting that while the region is home to 2 percent of the nation's Medicare beneficiaries, it accounts for 17 percent of Medicare spending on inhalation drugs. We're talking a very high probability of fraud here, people.

In 2007, Medicare spent $143 million on claims for drugs to treat respiratory ailments in Miami-Dade County, HHS said in its new report. Why is that a concern? Because it's a whopping 20 times more than the amount Medicare spent in the Chicago area, which has twice as many Medicare beneficiaries, officials said.

Typically, vendors get away with this by claiming reimbursement for inhalation drugs for patients who hadn't had an office visit in the previous three years with the doctors who prescribed the treatment. What's worse, the equipment suppliers recycle the questionable doctors' names for ongoing patient billing. To top it off, the DME vendors bill well beyond Medicare guidelines for inhalation drug therapy.

To learn more about this situation:
- read this Miami Herald piece

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