Doctor Accused Of Billing Medicare $375 Million For Nonexistent Treatments

It’s one thing to sneak a few hundred — or even a few thousand — dollars under the federal government’s radar. But how in the world did a Texas doctor allegedly manage to bilk the feds out of almost $375 million in bogus Medicare claims in only five years?

According to reports, the Dallas-based doc hired recruiters who would go door-to-door convincing people to sign documents claiming they had received an in-home visit from the doctor.

The recruiters were also paid, upwards of $50 a person, to go to homeless shelters, where they would then take people to nearby parking lots to sign the forms.

Feds have also charged the owners of three home health agencies for their parts in the scheme, and suspended payments of around $2.3 million a month to 78 additional agencies in the Lone Star State.

It wasn’t until 2010 that the Dept. of Health & Human Services’ computers caught on that their might be a problem. That was when HHS analysts noticed that the Texas doctor had signed off on more than 5,000 home health patients, where as 99% of doctors have a maximum of around 104 patients.

“To get that kind of money, you’d need to be treating a million people,” one lawyer tells the L.A. Times about just how obvious this scheme should have been to HHS. “You’d have to have 30 locations and tons of people going through them.”

The doctor now faces up to 100 years in prison and at least $18.5 million in fines and forfeitures.

Doctor charged in nation’s largest healthcare fraud scam [L.A. Times]