Attorney General Bondi's Weekly Briefing
Health care fraud drives up prices and hurts programs that help people receive medical care. That is why my office works tirelessly to stop Medicaid fraud in our state. This week, along with federal authorities, we announced the largest health care fraud enforcement action in the nation’s history. My Medicaid Fraud Control Unit played an important role in this sweep stopping schemes defrauding Medicare and Medicaid out of $1.3 billion.
This massive fraud takedown targeted people abusing our health care industry and, in some cases, profiting from patients trying to recover from opioid addiction. These arrests and recoveries should serve as a warning to anyone scheming to commit health care fraud that we will find them and they will be held accountable.
As part of the collaborative investigative efforts of my MFCU and our federal partners, authorities arrested a Florida licensed insurance agent for allegedly enrolling ineligible people living in Nicaragua into our health care plans. This scheme defrauded Medicare and Medicaid out of more than a million dollars in payments and premiums. My office will also prosecute this case.
Medicaid fraud essentially steals from taxpayers, and since I first took office, my MFCU has recovered more than $700 million in judgements and settlements. My office will continue to work every day to investigate and prosecute those intentionally defrauding Medicaid, and partner with local, state and federal authorities to stop health care fraud in Florida.
Avis Budget Agrees to Change Billing Practices for Cashless Toll
The Florida Attorney General’s Office obtained a court enforceable settlement agreement with Avis Budget Car Rental System, LLC which owns the Avis, Budget and Payless car rental companies. The settlement agreement resolves an investigation by Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office regarding Avis, Budget and Payless’ practices involving add-on fees for cashless tolls in Florida and other related add-on charges.
Attorney General Bondi’s Office investigated allegations that Avis, Budget and Payless did not sufficiently disclose to consumers that they would be charged a daily fee for the companies’ e-Toll service, in addition to the cost the customer incurs for a toll on a cashless toll road. The rental companies imposed this charge for each day of the rental, even on days the customer did not use a cashless toll road. Unaware of the e-Toll fee or how to avoid it, many consumers received bills from Avis, Budget or Payless four to six weeks after concluding their rental, advising of the additional charges owed. More.
Important Fentanyl Trafficking Legislation Highlighted in Ceremonial Signing
Attorney General Pam Bondi thanks the state Legislature and Governor Rick Scott for supporting legislation that adds fentanyl and its derivatives to Florida’s drug trafficking statute. HB 477 was Attorney General Bondi’s top priority this session because it provides the state with tools needed to combat the trafficking of these deadly substances and help further efforts to fight the opioid epidemic. Governor Rick Scott held a ceremonial bill signing this week highlighting the legislation. For more information about this important legislation, click here.
National Health Care Fraud Takedown Results in Charges Against Over 412 Individuals Responsible for $1.3 Billion in Fraud Losses
Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price, M.D., announced the largest ever health care fraud enforcement action by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, involving 412 charged defendants across 41 federal districts, including 115 doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals, for their alleged participation in health care fraud schemes involving approximately $1.3 billion in false billings. Of those charged, over 120 defendants, including doctors, were charged for their roles in prescribing and distributing opioids and other dangerous narcotics. Thirty state Medicaid Fraud Control Units also participated in today’s arrests. In addition, HHS has initiated suspension actions against 295 providers, including doctors, nurses and pharmacists. More.