Ted Kaufman - United States Senator for Delaware

Schumer, Rice push for Medicare fraud crackdown

Source: Newsday.com

By KATHLEEN KERR

November 10, 2009

With the White House pushing for a health care reform bill by year's end, Sen. Charles Schumer said Monday he's backing legislation that cracks down on costly Medicaid and Medicare fraud.

 

The legislation - to be offered as an amendment to a comprehensive Senate health care reform bill - would beef up federal efforts to track, arrest and convict people who commit Medicare and Medicaid fraud. Schumer said cutting down on fraud will help contain health care costs.

 

The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Ted KAUFMAN (D-Del.) and co-sponsored by fellow Democrat Schumer, would stiffen sentencing guidelines for serious health care fraud offenses and increase federal anti-fraud spending by $20 million annually through 2016.

 

Schumer and Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice appeared Monday outside a West Hempstead clinic. An office manager at the Doctor's Immediate Care clinic bilked Medicare out of $73,280 in 2006 by billing for osteopathic treatments for 89 patients who actually received acupuncture, which Medicare does not cover. The office manager pleaded guilty to grand larceny. The clinic is still open.

 

Medicare and Medicaid fraud costs New York taxpayers millions of dollars a year, Schumer said, pointing to scammers who have used the Social Security numbers of dead people to file bogus claims.

 

"People stealing from Medicare and Medicaid are taking money straight out of the pockets of Long Island taxpayers," Schumer said.

 

Added Rice, "This common-sense legislation puts fraudsters on notice: You will be found, prosecuted and you will pay back every nickel you stole from the people of New York."

 

Rice recently announced 10 arrests for Medicaid fraud. Among those arrested were two affluent couples charged with stealing more than $128,000 in benefits by claiming to have low incomes.

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