The Detroit area has emerged as a national “hot spot” for health care fraud, with 84 people indicted on charges of bilking the system of $85 million in the last eight months, reports the Detroit News. Two physicians and 11 other people were arrested yesterday, accused of billing Medicare for $14.5 million in services that were never provided.
Chronic unemployment means Detroit is rife with people willing to give up their Medicare billing numbers for $50 to $100 or perhaps a free painkiller prescription. “Once you have that, it’s open game,” said Gerald Roy of the U.S. Office of Inspector General. “The numbers are staggering.” Health care fraud is an easy crime to commit and highly profitable. The Motor City Health Care Fraud Strike Force — set up about eight months ago — is trying to make sure those who bilk the system can’t to do it for long.