maandag 10 februari 2014
The Koyal Training Group: ‘Let the Crime Spree Begin’: How Fraud Flourishes in Medicare’s Drug Plan
The federal government does little to stop cal numbers from stealing from Medicare Part D, the prescription drug program That Provides up to more than 36 million seniors and disabled people.
With just a handful of prescriptions to his name, psychiatrist Ernest Bagner III was barely a blip in Medicare's drug program established in 2009.
But the next year he began churning them out at a furious rate. Not just the psych drugs expected in his specialty , but expensive pills for asthma and high cholesterol, heartburn and blood clots.
By the end of 2010, Medicare had paid $ 3.8 million for Bagner's drug-one of the highest tallies in the country. His prescriptions cost the program another $ 2.6 million the following year, records Analyzed by ProPublica show.
Bagner, 46, says there's just one problem with this accounting: The prescriptions Are not his. "All of that stuff you have been false," he said.
By his count, someone stole his identity while he worked at a strip mall clinic in Hollywood, California, then forged his signature on prescriptions for hundreds of Medicare patients he'd never seen. Whoever did it, he's been told, likely pilfered Those drugs and resold them.
"These people make more money off my name than I do," said Bagner, who now works as a disability evaluator and says he no longer prescribes medications.
Today, credit card companies Routinely scan Their records for fraud, flagging or blocking suspicious batches as they happen. Yet massive Medicare's drug program has a process so convoluted and poorly managed That fraud flourishes, giving rise to elaborate schemes That quickly siphon away millions of dollars.
Frustrated investigators for law enforcement, insurers, and pharmacy chains say they do not see evidence That Medicare officials are doing much to stop it.
"It's kind of a black hole," said Alanna Lavelle, director of investigations for Wellpoint Inc., Which Provides drug coverage to about 1.4 million people in the program, known as Part D.
Lavelle said her team Routinely Refers doctors and pharmacies to the Medicare contractor hires to Pursue fraud. "Oftentimes we never hear back, positive or negative."