$5 billion Medicare bill for ambulance services points to fraud
Officials say it explains why a newly released report shows Medicaid paid more to ambulance companies than cancer doctors or orthopedic surgeons
The patient smoked cigarettes in the passenger seat of the ambulance every week, chatting with the driver while taxpayers foot the $1,000 bill to drive him four blocks for his dialysis treatment.
The routine was part of a $1.5 million scheme to defraud Medicare by Penn Choice Ambulance Inc., according to an indictment against the Philadelphia company. The case helps explain part of why Medicare paid $5 billion to ambulance companies in 2012, more than went to cancer doctors or orthopedic surgeons, according to newly released federal data.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has identified ambulance service as one of the biggest areas of overuse and abuse in Medicare -- companies billing millions for trips by patients who can walk, sit, stand or even drive their own cars.
Read full story: Medicare’s $5 Billion Ambulance Tab Signals Area of Abuse