The Justice Department's special Medicare fraud strike team made its biggest bust ever yesterday, charging 107 doctors, nurses, and other alleged fraudsters in a "nationwide takedown" affecting seven cities. All told, they're accused of bilking the government out of $452 million, the Los Angeles Times reports. Among the scams: billing Medicare for never-purchased power wheelchairs, never-held therapy sessions, and unnecessary feeding tubes. Health and Human Services also suspended or otherwise penalized 52 medical providers where it found "credible allegations of fraud."
The lion's share of the fraud was allegedly committed by seven people at two Baton Rouge community health centers, who billed Medicare $225.6 million for services the government alleges were unnecessary and often never actually performed, Reuters reports. Kathleen Sebelius hailed the arrests as "another example of how the Affordable Care Act is helping the Obama administration fight fraud," arguing that the controversial law had provided the resources to make the busts. This is the fourth big bust by the fraud team in two years. (Read more Justice Department stories.)