DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Federal prosecutors announced what they called a major takedown against healthcare fraud, not only in North Texas but statewide.
Erin Nealy Cox, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, said the cases range “from kickbacks to pill mills to fraudulent charges.”
Nealy Cox was one of three U.S. Attorneys from across Texas, along with federal agents from multiple agencies, who told a news conference they’re prosecuting 58 people in 21 separate health care fraud cases.
They said the fraud has cost taxpayers $66 million in losses to federal healthcare programs, and involves more than six million pills and other cases centered on durable medical equipment.
The government says it’s now able to investigate these kinds of cases much quicker than before thanks to a relatively new weapon: data.
Nealy Cox said, “We’re focused on data that can tell us high numbers of opioids are being prescribed at certain facilities, high numbers of prescriptions are being written for opioids and high numbers for durable medical equipment that don’t make sense.”
Prosecutors said they filed charges Wednesday against Bioflex Medical accusing it of filing fraudulent claims for durable medical equipment.
The indictment indicates the business is operated in a Dallas house, and neighbors told CBS 11 they took photos of law enforcement officers executing a search warrant at the home in April of last year.
Other neighbors said agents returned there Tuesday.
No one came to the door Wednesday afternoon when CBS 11 stopped by.
In another case, operators of the Ability Pharmacy, Industrial & Family Pharmacy in Fort Worth and the Park Row Pharmacy in Arlington are accused of filing fraudulent prescriptions for compounding drugs.
Most of the defendants have pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutors wouldn’t comment on either case specifically, but said fraud causes healthcare costs to rise, which is why they say they’re increasing their investigative efforts in Texas.
The Assistant U.S. Attorney General of the Criminal Division, Brian Benczkowski said, “You always see over time a correlation between the amount of work billed to federal healthcare programs and fraud. As we come in and have a sustained effort over time to go after fraudsters you see the billing rates come down.”
He said the government will continue pursuing these crimes on a sustained level until it starts to see the billing rates come back down.