Recent federal health fraud charges against more than 400 people, including 56 doctors, amount to the “largest health-care fraud takedown operation” in U.S. history, says Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Wall Street Journal reports. The crimes overall generated $1.3 billion in false billings. “Too many trusted medical professionals like doctors, nurses and pharmacists have chosen to violate their oaths and put greed ahead of their patients,” Sessions said yesterday.
Among those charged in this year’s operation were 120 accused of crimes tied to abuse of prescription opioids and other narcotics. New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, whose state has been one of the hardest hit by the opioid epidemic, called the Justice Department action a “great first step” and a sign that the new presidential administration is taking the scourge seriously. “The overprescribing of opioids is obviously the unfortunate entryway for addiction,” said Sununu. The Justice Department has conducted similar initiatives in recent years, and its Medicare Fraud Strike Force has charged more than 3,500 people since 2007 with falsely billing Medicare for more than $12.5 billion.