Medicare Fraud Highlights: How Do You Remove 18 Toenails?

A crime sweep nabs 111 alleged fraudsters. Here are the skeeziest allegations

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In what's being billed as the largest crackdown of medicare fraud in U.S. history, 700 law enforcement officers arrested 111 people Thursday morning. The apprehended doctors, nurses and health care executives stand accused of defrauding Medicare to the tune of $225 million. In many of the cases, physicians billed the government for providing services and drugs that were never administered. We picked through the most brazen cases in cities throughout the U.S. and laid them out for your reading pleasure:

The Podiatrist  The Wall Street Journal zooms in on a Detroit-area podiatrist named Errol Sherman. The foot doctor billed for 18 toenail removals on a single patient—an excruciating procedure that allegedly never occurred. In at least three other cases, patients reported only receiving "foot soakings" or "nail trimmings" when a full-on nail removal was billed. According to the AP, Sherman charged Medicare $110 for each procedure totaling about $700,000 "which authorities said amounted to little more than toenail clippings."

Paying the Patient ABC News spotlights a Brooklyn scheme where patients were complicit in the fraud:

Investigators say the Brooklyn scheme worked like this: Patients willing to go along with the scam were paid $40 per visit for three appointments per week, and were often diagnosed with vertigo or other ailments that would limit their mobility. Ambulettes provided by Medicare and Medicaid were transporting these patients back and forth for fraudulent appointments.

The clinic would then collect from Medicare or Medicaid for the ambulette rides, and the supposed services provided at the phony appointments. Taxpayers were billed millions for unnecessary treatment or treatment never provided. Seven of the nine Brooklyn suspects are in custody.

Fake Prescriptions  NBC Miami outlines a local scheme that allegedly bilked U.S. taxpayers out of $25 million:

Two Miami doctors and several nurses from ABC Home Health Care Inc. were charged with swindling $25 million by writing fake prescriptions recommending nurses and other expensive aids to treat homebound patients, authorities said. The services were never provided. 

In total, nearly three dozen defendants were charged in Miami in various scams that topped about $56 million.

Pseudo Therapy In a $23 million fraud scheme, The Detroit Free Press reports that 21 people were arrested, including doctors, physical therapists and an occupational therapist, for filing false claims for "home health care, nerve conduction tests, psychotherapy, physical therapy and podiatry."

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