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News of the Day ... in Perspective


FBI criticized for diverting health-care fraud funds

According to a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), some of the $114 million earmarked by Congress to spend on investigating allegations of fraud against Medicare, Medicaid, or other health programs, was improperly used to fight terrorism.

“It’s inexcusable that the government cannot account for millions of dollars set aside to fight health care fraud,” said Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA).

The attacks of Sept 11, 2001, “demanded an instant, 100 percent commitment toward counterterrorism” said Joseph L. Ford, FBI chief financial officer. But the Bureau is once again focusing on health care fraud, “one of its top white-collar criminal investigative priorities.”

GAO said that the FBI had “no effective mechanism in place” to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Some data was “reported from memory” because no records could be found (Robert Pear, NY Times 5/16/05).

Additional information:

Same FBI agent investigated Mohammed Atta and Dr. Owen McCarthy, AAPS News, December 2002

“‘Anti-Fraud’ activities thriving,” AAPS News, February 1998

AAPS report on Medicare fraud, case histories, testimony

“Can Health Care Fraud Be Ended?” by Jane Orient, M.D., Medical Sentinel, July/Aug 1998. In: Special Issue on the Police State of Medicine.

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