Huge health-care fraud sweep: Only 1 addiction treatment case in Fla.

Updated July 13, 2017
Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (AP Photo)

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions called it the largest opioid-related fraud bust in U.S. history. He said at a news conference how an American dies of an overdose every 11 minutes.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said the huge fraud crackdown was aimed at stopping opportunists from taking advantage of a “national scourge,” the nation’s killer opioid epidemic.

But when the charges were announced, it inexplicably sidestepped the biggest health-care fraud in Florida: addiction treatment.

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In fact, just two addiction treatment arrests were made: Eric Snyder, who the Feds raided three years ago in Delray Beach, in 2014 but arrested this week. He is charged with fraudulently billing insurers $58 million over nearly five years; and Christopher Fuller, accused of participating in the alleged scheme by accepting kickbacks for enrolling insured addicts in Snyder’s program.

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It’s not that other types of fraud were overlooked. Prosecutors are charging 77 defendants in South Florida. But none appears to involve addiction treatment, save Snyder.

In total, Sessions announcement included charges against 412 people, including 52 doctors in what he described as the largest health insurance fraud crackdown in U.S. history.

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The criminal complaints appear to involve largely other types of health care fraud as well as addiction treatment. California defendants include a compounding pharmacy and home health care providers. There were numerous cases of more typical health care fraud involving charging Medicare for services not provided and even fraud alleged to have been committed by assisted care facilities.

“These defendants have defrauded taxpayers of approximately $1.3 billion,” said Sessions, who said that the health care professionals involved “seem oblivious to the disastrous consequences of their greed. Their actions not only enrich themselves … but also feed addictions and caused addictions to begin.”

Sessions said that 205 health care professionals are also being suspended or banned from participation in any federal health care programs.