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U.S. announces $1.2 bln healthcare crackdown tied to telehealth, cardiovascular tests

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An American flag waves outside the U.S. Department of Justice Building in Washington, U.S., December 15, 2020. REUTERS/Al Drago

WASHINGTON, July 20 (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department unveiled a $1.2 billion healthcare fraud crackdown on Wednesday, revealing criminal charges against 36 defendants for alleged fraudulent billing schemes tied to telemedicine, genetic and cardiovascular testing, and equipment.

The criminal charges, which were unsealed across 13 federal districts between July 11 through July 20, target clinical laboratory owners, marketers, medical professionals and telemedicine executives.

Prosecutors said the schemes intended to bilk Medicare out of $1.2 billion, though the actual losses are closer to $440 million.

“The Department of Justice is committed to prosecuting people who abuse our health care system and exploit telemedicine technologies in fraud and bribery schemes,” said Kenneth Polite, who leads the department’s criminal division.

Separately, the Center for Medicare Services, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, took parallel administrative action against 52 companies involved in similar schemes.The alleged fraud schemes relate to both older and well-known billing and kick-back practices that target the Medicare program, as well as a burgeoning new fraudulent practice which involves “preying on patients’ fear of cardiovascular disease” by duping them into submitting […]

Click here to view original web page at www.reuters.com

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