Four Houston ambulance operators accused of making phony trips to a mental health clinic were among 107 people nationwide charged Wednesday in attempts to bilk taxpayers out of $450 million in bogus Medicare claims in the largest health care fraud crackdown in U.S. history.
The arrests, along with those of two home health care operators, were made by investigators with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General and FBI agents. The nine people indicted in Houston accounted for more than $16 million in fraudulent Medicare claims.
The charges against four Houston EMS operators - who are accused of ferrying able-bodied patients to mental health clinics and disguising the trips as patient transports to a hospital - are the first since a Houston Chronicle investigation last year documented that the two industries appeared to be working in concert to fuel billing spikes for the nation's largest insurer of the elderly and mentally disabled.
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Largest Medicare Fraud Takedown Includes 4 EMS, 2 Home Health Care Operators