Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen today, Tuesday, reiterated the need for significant Medicare fraud reform on the heels of another Medicare scam affecting South Florida. According to reports published by today's Miami Herald, a South Florida doctor has pleaded guilty to signing fraudulent prescriptions and medical forms for medicals services for patients that never needed them. This scam resulted in $37 million in fraudulent claims with Medicare paying out $22 million based on these claims.
Ros-Lehtinen is co-author of the "Medicare Fraud Enforcement and Prevention Act", alongside Congressman Ron Klein of Florida. The proposed legislation would double the penalties and jail-time for Medicare fraud. It would also implement biometric technology, which would require patients to offer physical proof, such as a fingerprint, to ensure that services and equipment were indeed rendered. If enacted, the criminals would find it very tough to get around the new proposed screening technologies.
Said Ros-Lehtinen: "Unfortunately, these Medicare scams are becoming the norm in our South Florida community. These media reports underscore the need to equip Medicare and law enforcement agencies with the tools necessary to stop these crooks from defrauding Medicare and taking advantage of our most vulnerable citizens. The legislation that Ron Klein and I have introduced would provide these tools and the technologies to keep up with these criminally savvy scammers who will stop at nothing to defraud the Medicare system. The use of biometric technology alone would have made this scam very difficult to pull off. I urge my colleagues to support this bill and help us put an end to the flood of taxpayer money which is being ripped off by the perpetrators of these frauds. "