Skip to main content.

The Week in Health Fraud: Tips for Your Own Reporting

The Week in Health Fraud: Tips for Your Own Reporting

Picture of Barbara Feder Ostrov

Medicare fraud, Barbara Feder Ostrov, Jacques Roy, reporting on health, health journalism

It's turning out to be quite the week for health fraud stories.

On Tues., federal officials arrested a Texas doctor and six associates in a home health care scheme that allegedly bilked Medicaid and Medicare out of a whopping $375 million. Here's a nice detail from the story by New York Times reporter Katie Thomas:

It was so brazen, (prosecutors) said, that it involved registering homeless people for home health care services they never received.

Today, the New York Post's Bruce Golding vividly reports on another high-profile series of health fraud arrests (you can read a more measured account here):

A brazen gang of Russian crooks was busted today for allegedly running a record-setting, $275 million fraud that exploited New York's "no-fault" auto-accident law.

The ring -- dubbed the "No-Fault Organization" -- worked with a "cadre of corrupt doctors" to set up more than 100 phony medical clinics across the city, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.

Time to consult the thesaurus for alternatives to "brazen?" Perhaps.

But the two stories should pique your interest in what's going on with health fraud enforcement at the national and state levels – and what might be happening in your own community

The Texas arrest of Canadian doctor Jacques Roy may have been sweet vindication for U.S. Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius. She announced earlier this month that the feds in 2011 recovered $4.1 billion in fraudulent Medicare payments, in part by relying on an expensive new computerized Medicare fraud detection system that has been heavily criticized for its high costs for its lack of performance.

Want to look into possible health fraud cases in your community? Antidote blogger William Heisel has written extensively on this topic, and I've listed some of his key posts below.

Reporting Resources:

Q&A with Terri Langford, Part 1: Driving the Medicare Money Trail

Q&A with Terri Langford, Part 2: Finding the Medicare Stories Everyone Wants to Read

The False Claims Act: Pedicures passing as medicine among priceless stories to be found

The False Claims Act: Go court hopping when shopping for fraud stories

The False Claims Act: The law that makes fraud whistles blow


Picture of Barbara Feder Ostrov

Here's another good resource for reporting on health fraud: this webcast from the Alliance for Health Reform:

Leave A Comment


Soaring out-of-pocket costs, rising premiums, and shaky insurance exchanges raise urgent questions this election season. What policies might address these problems, and how do the presidential candidates’ health plans differ? This webinar will give an overview of each candidates’ policy prescriptions and provide reporters with crucial context for covering one of the election’s most important but overlooked issues.

The 2017 California Fellowship, for California-based journalists only, will be held March 5-9, 2017 in Los Angeles. This Fellowship will focus on vulnerable populations and access to care and health care reform and innovation. We also take an in-depth look at how community conditions influence individuals' prospects for health. Each Fellow receives a $1,000 stipend to assist with the costs of reporting an ambitious Fellowship project on a California health issue, as well as six months of mentoring by a Senior Fellow. Deadline to apply is Dec. 1.  For more information, go here.


Member Activities

Bill Gordon joined the community

Connect with Bill Gordon

Anna Romano has shared a blog post

Read it.

Earl Reser's profile has been updated

Connect with Earl Reser

R. Jan Gurley has shared a blog post

Read it.

Ruth Rogers commented on a post

Join the conversation.
More Member Activities

Follow Us



CHJ Icon