Florida has been the scene of a number of Medicare fraud schemes and scandals involving the over billing of the government for medical services. New reports from the New York Times detail that some physicians have been billing the government as much as three to four times more than a procedure is worth and making millions in the process.
“Individuals committing Medicare or Medicaid fraud take from a pool of resources that people depend on for their healthcare,” commented Peter Mougey, a partner with the Levin, Papantonio law firm who practices in the areas of qui tam or whistleblower and False Claims Act litigation. “These schemes cheat the system and make it more difficult for ordinary patients and honest doctors to receive the care and compensation they are owed.”
According to the Times, Florida was home “to many of the physicians who received the largest payments, 28 out of the top 100. California, with a much larger population, was second, with 10 out of the top 100.”
Florida had more than twice as many doctors as California that are receiving the highest payments from Medicare. Florida has almost half the population of California.
“Often, it is the case that the fraud perpetuated by physicians and healthcare facilities against the government would go unpunished if it weren’t for the efforts of whistleblowers.” Mr. Mougey added.
Florida’s governor, Rick Scott, oversaw the company Columbia/HCA, which was responsible for one of the largest Medicare fraud schemes in history.
Individuals that have knowledge of fraud being committed against the government or false claims being submitted for payment may bring a lawsuit against the entity committing the fraud or filing the false claims under the qui tam provision of the False Claims Act.
The False Claims Act provides protections for whistleblowers and compensation for their efforts if they should prove successful in litigating the claim of the government.
Florida health care facilities have already paid over $300 million for Medicare fraud in 2014.