According to CNBC, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) uncovered a $1 Billion scheme to defraud Medicare and Medicaid. As a consequence of this investigation the owner of more than 30 Miami-area nursing homes, Philip Esformes, was indicted by a federal grand jury in July of 2016. The DOJ also accused a physician’s assistant and hospital administrator for their role in stealing and laundering money from the federal government since 2009. The depth and breadth of the fraudulent scheme shows how elders and the infirm are at the mercy of unscrupulous health care providers. Miami personal injury attorneys who have experience recovering damages for injuries and abuse in nursing homes will fight to protect your loved one in a nursing home or long-term care facility.
The DOJ alleges that Esformes, with assistance from the other individuals involved, bilked the faltering health care system to fund a ridiculously lavish lifestyle. All at the expense of some of our most vulnerable people in our community: the elderly and the poor. Prosecutors alleged that Esformes subjected his residents to unnecessary medical treatments so that he could bill Medicare for the treatment. Additionally, and perhaps most egregiously, Esformes allegedly drugged some of his patients with prescription narcotics. The over prescription of narcotics renders the patient incapable of weaning themselves off of the drug. As a result, the patient remained bound to the facility because they were addicted to the painkilling drugs. Prosecutors referred to this abuse as a “cycle of fraud.”
Local law enforcement authorities are aware of the problem. The United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, which represents the Miami-area, indicated that the South Florida area is replete with Medicare and Medicaid fraud. Consequently, law enforcement is paying close attention to facilities in the hopes of preventing this type of wide-spread fraud in the future.