Medicare Fraud Causes Patient Suffering and Death
Medicare fraud is not a victimless crime. It doesn’t just affect the government; it affects you and your family in the form of higher taxes and reduced benefits as the government struggles to keep Medicare from going bankrupt.
But did you know that it has killed people? Did you know that it has also caused much suffering to patients? In the light of these 3 cases that I’ve found, the financial burden of fraud is not nearly as costly as the loss of life and human dignity.
Case #1: Unnecessary Narcotics Prescribed
According to the Atlantic, one case of Medicare fraud involved a Michigan doctor who “prescribed unnecessary narcotics in exchange for patients’ identification information, which was used to generate false billings.” This then caused the patients to become hopelessly addicted to the narcotics. It kept them coming back for more, which kept his scheme well funded until it was busted along with 242 other Medicare fraudsters on June 18, 2015.
Case #2: Fake Doctors Employed
In the AARP’s June 2016 Bulletin, they tell of Dr. Rafael Chikvashvili, a man who employed fake doctors to “examine the X-rays, ultrasounds and cardiac examinations that his company, Alpha Diagnostics, provided to nursing homes throughout the mid-Atlantic.” This gross malpractice cost 2 patients their lives to congestive heart failure. The fake doctors didn’t have the skills or knowledge to interpret these important tests. As a result, they ended up misinterpreting the patients’ X-rays or failing to diagnose the issue. Both of the patients didn’t get the care they needed, and they both ended up dying from their congestive heart failure. Chikvashvili faces life in prison for his actions.
Case #3: Chemotherapy Falsely Administered
In July of 2015, CNN released a report about Dr. Farid Fata, a hematologist who “gave cancer treatment drugs to patients who did not need them — including some who didn’t actually have cancer”. According to the article, these chemotherapy treatments were both painful and life altering. One of the victims lost all but one of his teeth due to the harsh treatments. In AARP’s June 2016 Bulletin, they claimed that he “improperly administered” chemotherapy to over 550 patients! Needless to say, he is now serving 45 years in prison.
Most fraud doesn’t affect the health and well being of patients, only finances. But every once in a while, a malicious case of Medicare fraud causes someone to lose her life or experience intense suffering like those victims who underwent years of unnecessary chemotherapy.
This is why we need to band together against Medicare fraud. The best thing you can do is to educate yourself. You need to be aware of what it is, whom it affects, and how to recognize it, so you can turn the fraudsters in. This saves the government (and yourself money), but beyond this, it could also save lives.
For more information about how to recognize Medicare fraud, click here: How to Detect Medicare Fraud.
If you feel you have been a victim of Medicare fraud, please contact Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE.
As always, if you have other questions, please call our office at 937-492-8800.