DOJ charges 138 with health-care fraud, including opioids, Covid, telemedicine
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The Department of Justice on Friday announced criminal charges against 42 medical professionals and nearly 100 other people for alleged health-care fraud that involved about $1.4 billion in suspected losses.
There are also cases that include the use telemedicine as part the fraud. These alleged losses total approximately $1.1 million. Telemedicine is a form of remote medicine that uses communication technology to assess and treat patients.
Fraud that exploited Covid-19’s pandemic was also involved in other schemes. These included the use of substance-abuse treatment facilities called “sober houses” or opioid distribution networks.
At a briefing on the case, Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite Jr. from the Justice Department’s Criminal Division stated that “we are stopping corrupt medical practitioners in their tracks.”
23 physicians are among those charged, according to the DOJ. Thirty-one U.S. attorneys are prosecuting the cases. The cases are being prosecuted by 31 U.S. Attorneys.
Polite stated that the number of Americans who died from opioid overdoses was “record”, at nearly 70,000, last year. She also pointed out that there had been an increase in drug-related deaths by 30%. In 2020, 90,000 people were killed due to overdose.
Nineteen people were charged in opioid-related fraud cases by the DOJ, 16 of whom were doctors or other medical professionals.
Anne Milgram, DEA Administrator, stated that holding accountable those who are responsible for the diversion and health care fraud of prescription drugs was a top priority.
“These fraudulent activities prey on our most vulnerable – those in pain, the substance-addicted, and even the homeless – those who are most susceptible to promises of relief, recovery, or a new start,” Milgram said.
” These schemes not only make a profit out of desperation but often lead to further addiction.