Oklahoma Medicare Fraud Cases More than Triple
Over the last three years, Oklahoma fraud lawyers have seen a significant increase in the number of Medicare fraud cases. One recent news report claims that in Oklahoma, Medicare fraud has increased by 350% in the last three years, resulting in seven criminal cases and thirty eight civil suits totaling more than $22 million in settlements. According to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, nearly $24 billion dollars are spent on improper, inaccurate, or fraudulent Medicare and Medicaid claims annually in the United States. With such a heavy financial toll on the government and taxpayers, fraud cases are investigated and prosecuted vigorously. The United States Department of Health and Human Services reports that the federal government saves $1.55 for every $1 invested in fighting fraud.
Medicare Fraud and Medicaid Fraud in Oklahoma
Medicare fraud and Medicaid (SoonerCare) fraud can take many forms, and while the fraud is generally perpetrated by the health care provider, patients can be involved as well. The most common types of health care fraud include:
- Phantom Billing - The medical provider bills Medicare for procedures, tests, or equipment that is unnecessary or never performed.
- Patient Billing - The patient receives kickbacks and benefits for allowing his or her Medicare number to be used for fraudulent billing.
- Upcoding - The medical provider bills for more expensive procedures and equipment than is actually used or delivered.
In any of these cases, Medicare or Medicaid is fraudulently billed for services that were not provided. According to a United States Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Medicare paid out more than $1 billion in questionable expenses between 2001 and 2006, including walkers for patients with sinus congestion, paraplegia, and shoulder injuries and diabetes glucose test strips for patients with "breathing problems, bubonic plague, leprosy or sexual impotence." With investigations revealing such abuse of the Medicare system, it is no wonder the government is cracking down on Medicare fraud.
Oklahoma Fraud Defense Attorneys
Unfortunately, taking a hard line against fraud can mean some deserving patients do not get the services they need, and medical providers may be accused of impropriety when they are actually filing legitimate claims. If you have been accused of Medicare fraud, or if you suspect you are being investigated for fraud, contact and Oklahoma City fraud lawyer who can help you protect your rights. Maybe your actions are legitimate; maybe you did not know your actions were against the law; maybe you felt forced to participate in a fraud scheme by an unscrupulous employer. Whatever the situation, contact an Oklahoma white collar crimes lawyer who can help you build the strongest defense against charges of Medicare fraud or Medicaid fraud in Oklahoma.