412—Including 56 Doctors— Charged in Opioid Fraud Cases
AG says it's 'largest health care fraud takedown operation in American history'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2017 1:22 PM CDT
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Attorney General Jeff Sessions, right, with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, speaks about opioid addiction during a news conference, Thursday, July 13, 2017, at the Justice Department in Washington.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

(Newser) – A rehab facility in Florida allegedly performed $58 million in false tests and treatments on opioid addicts it lured with strip club visits, the AP reports. Meanwhile, authorities say a doctor in Houston sold opioid prescriptions for cash, according to NBC News. And six doctors in Michigan conspired to prescribe unneeded opioids. All were part of the more than 400 people charged this week by the Justice Department in connection with medical fraud and the opioid epidemic. Politico reports that, all told, 412 people—56 of them physicians—were charged with defrauding the government of $1.3 billion via illegal billing of Medicare and Medicaid.

Jeff Sessions calls it “the largest health care fraud takedown operation in American history.” As a result of the investigation, nearly 300 providers will be prohibited from participating in Medicaid, Medicare, and similar programs. Andrew McCabe says prescribing unnecessary opioids to addicts is "a death sentence, plain and simple." “Some doctors wrote out more prescriptions for controlled substances in one month than entire hospitals were writing,” the acting FBI director says. According to the CDC, enough opioids were prescribed in 2015 to keep every American medicated 24 hours a day for three weeks.

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