It’s no secret that Medicaid has been taken advantage of by fraudsters throughout the country. The Allegiant Experts Blog has shed quite a bit of light on the subject in recent weeks, because we feel that it’s important to expose the truths about injustices to our healthcare system. As many of our blogs have shown, there are numerous members of the medical field who have remorselessly robbed our social health insurance programs of millions of dollars.
Fraudsters in Utah, however, are taking things to a whole new level. As reported by Alex Stuckey in The Salt Lake Tribune a couple of weeks ago, a recent state audit found that Medicaid funds were being used to pay for prescriptions that were supposedly written by dead doctors. It is evident that the identities of these deceased physicians have been used to rob Medicaid of funds meant for the legitimately sick and injured.
This, of course, is a travesty of justice for multiple reasons. And while it’s obvious that writing prescriptions while purporting to be a doctor who is no longer alive is abhorrent, Stuckey points out that the improper use of Medicaid money is a likely culprit in the fact that prescription drugs are leading to so many deaths in the state of Utah. In fact, it’s ranked as one of the top states in the country for prescription drug deaths.
“The audit comes as Utah continually finds itself among the top states for prescription drug poisoning deaths: Utah ranked fourth in the country between 2012 and 2014, according to the state Department of Health’s website,” Stuckey writes, “The department oversees the state’s Medicaid program. Put another way, 24 Utahns die every month from prescription drug overdoses — a rate that outpaces motorcycle and firearms deaths, according to the department.”
That is certainly a scary statistic. And given the findings of the recent audit, one can sensibly surmise that unjustly-received Medicaid funds are being used to pay for prescriptions for drugs for individuals who don’t truly need them for medical purposes. Stuckey notes that between July 2014 and March 2016, there were millions of dollars in pharmacy claims. Among them were 59 prescriptions written by 11 prescribers after they had died.
But the story gets better (or worse, when you think about it). Not only were prescriptions written by dead doctors, but many of them were written for dead patients! “More than 50 prescriptions for 25 people were dispensed after those people died,” reveals Stuckey, “In some cases, those prescriptions appeared to be written after his or her death.” Thankfully, the department was able to reverse some of those claims, but it is not stated how many.
As you can imagine, the audit elicited a number of recommendations for change within Medicaid’s dispensing of insurance money. Among them was the request for an avoidance of paying prescription claims that were written after the death of the prescriber and investigating every prescription that is written by a prescriber who died before the prescription was even written.
At Allegiant Experts, we’d love to see crimes like these brought to a stop. But, we know that it will be a long hard fight to ever see medical fraud disappear completely. Our team of clinical experts does work tirelessly, however, to do our part. We are both available and eager to assist attorneys who seek justice against fraudsters. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about how we can help your litigation. Give us a call at 407-217-5831.