Ambulance service has been identified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as one of largest areas of Medicare abuse according to a recent Bloomberg article. The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) reports that a large amount of this fraudulent spending comes from rides to and from dialysis treatment. Medicare will only pay for ambulance services for dialysis patients who cannot get to their medical appointments or treatment by any other means. In 2012, Medicare paid $5 billion to ambulance companies, more than went to cancer doctors or orthopedic surgeons. Of that amount, nearly $700 million paid for rides to dialysis centers. Assistant U.S. Attorney Beth Leahy, who has prosecuted half a dozen ambulance fraud cases, claims that it is “basically like a taxi service except an extremely expensive one that taxpayers are financing.”
Over the last year, the government has taken action against at least a dozen ambulance companies for alleged Medicare fraud. For example, Penn Choice Ambulance Inc., a Philadelphia-based company, was recently indicted as a part of a $1.5 million scheme to defraud Medicare. According to the indictment, Penn Choice recruited patients, promising them free rides to treatment and even paying cash to many patients to keep them coming back. The indictment goes on to allege that Penn Choice employees would transport dialysis patients in their personal vehicles while billing Medicare for ambulance rides.
To report Medicare fraud, please contact Frohsin & Barger, LLC.
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