Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Health fraud's new frontiers

Health fraud's new frontiers: "Health fraud's new frontiers

More on fixing the system -first step let's find out where it is bleeding-PR As usual -officials do not see a problem -speak out

Although cases of defrauding the health care system exist -- including payment claims on prescriptions that were never filled and the staging of fake auto accidents for insurance claims -- regulatory bodies that oversee health professions don't see a widespread problem.

From doctors who bill for non-existent appointments to dentists who perform major restorative work on healthy teeth and organized rings that recruit every sort of health professional, economic crime saps billions of dollars a year, by some accounts, from the over-burdened health system.

It is a little-discussed phenomenon, yet one physician was handed an 18-month jail term for bilking medicare of almost $1-million. A chiropodist purloined $900,000 from the country's biggest hospital, garnering virtually no media attention. Even the Mafia and Russian mob have their hands in the health business, police and insurance investigators say.

Ordinary Canadians ultimately pay the price as dollars are drained from the public system and private insurers pass on the extra cost through higher premiums or service cuts.

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