in the healthcare industry can have grave consequences for those affected. Approximately 70 medical professionals recently gathered at the University of California-Riverside to discuss this issue, and learn more about how doctors and patients can become victims of Medicare fraud.
Medicare fraud acts as a payment barrier for doctors and prevents patients from getting proper care or medical equipment if an identity thief has already received care under their name. Officials urged doctors to check their patients' identities prior to treatment and protect their provider numbers, which Medicare uses to pay for services. Some Medicare scammers call patients and pretend to be representatives of the insurance agency, offering free products or equipment in order to obtain their personal information. A recent case of Medicare fraud involved a man named Lawrence Duran, who owned American Therapeutic Corporation - the largest community mental health center chain in the U.S. - according to Fierce Healthcare. Over an eight-year span, Duran allegedly forged charts for patients with Alzheimer's or dementia to bill for services he never provided. Duran was sentenced to 50 years in jail, after pleading guilty to $205 million in Medicare fraud.