DOJ charges more than 400 people with healthcare fraud

14 July, 2017, 00:39 | Author: Ora Austin
  • Credit Todd Huffman via Wikimedia Commons

It's a scenario often repeated in Southern California, which was part of a massive crackdown on health-care fraud that netted hundreds of arrests across the nation Thursday, including charges against 115 doctors, nurses and licensed medical professionals, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Officials said those charged in the schemes include more than 120 people involved in prescribing and distributing narcotics. Sessions admitted to having the interactions, but said they were held in his capacity as a US senator, a position he occupied for 20 years before becoming attorney general.

This year's operation has resulted in arrests of 412 individuals, including 56 doctors, who are accused of defrauding taxpayers of approximately $1.3 billion, said Sessions.

In a related development, the Justice Department on Tuesday said Mallinckrodt Plc, one of the largest manufacturers of the generic opioid painkiller oxycodone, will pay $35 million to resolve allegations it failed to report suspicious drug orders.

"Preventing addiction is the most important thing we can do", Sessions told reporters, advocating a return to programs that had good results in the 1980s and 1990s, and that treatment seems the least effective option.

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USA and state authorities are grappling with a national opioid addiction epidemic. The abuse of pharmaceutical opioids is widely blamed for a medical crisis involving tens of thousands of overdoses on heroin and fentanyl.

Another fraudulent rehabilitation facility in Florida allegedly billed the government for $58 million for false tests and treatments., he added.

Over 200 healthcare providers are in the process of being suspended or banned from participating in federal healthcare programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid. "From Jeff Sessions to Jared Kushner to Donald Trump, Jr., the President's closest confidants appear to have collective amnesia about their dealings with the Russian government", the group's executive director, Austin Evers, said in a statement.

In a Houston case, federal authorities allege a doctor at a pain management clinic issued unnecessary prescriptions for the opioid painkiller hydrocodone in exchange for $300 in cash per visit.

Sessions pledged his support late last month to "continue to enforce hate crime laws aggressively", and revealed for the first time his focus on crimes against those in the transgender community, despite previous opposition as a senator to the federal Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

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