The owner of a home health care service business based in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota was recently convicted of Medicaid fraud. Criminal convictions are supposed to act as warnings to those who contemplate similar white collar crimes, but some in the health care services world believe that large corporations are committing more fraudulent acts than small providers.
The former owner of the health care services company pled guilty to defrauding the state’s Medicaid program out of nearly one million dollars. According to the spokesperson for the Minnesota attorney general’s office, the owner of the company charged for services performed by personal care assistants who actually did not work for the company and the owner also charged for services that were never provided. The case of Medicaid fraud took place from 2005 to 2007. State investigators eventually became aware of acts.
Though the case of Medicaid fraud involving the owner of the small home health care service is serious, some familiar with the industry and problems with the industry believe larger companies contribute more to the bucket when it comes to Medicare fraud. When it comes to larger companies involved in health care services and fraud, the penalties large companies receive can be disproportionate to the committed fraud. Therefore the punishment may not act as an incentive to not repeat criminal actions in the future.
Leaders of large health care companies sign corporate integrity agreements which are promises to behave correctly. According to one attorney familiar with health care law and the issue of fraud, corporate leaders usually do not go to prison for corporate health care fraud and will not personally pay any financial penalties.
According to Minnesota’s Department of Human Services, the state Medicaid program loses around $900 million in stolen or misapplied funds each year.
Source: MPRnews, “Medicaid fraud investigators may be missing the big-time cheats,” Dan Olson, Sept. 6, 2011