Published: Fri, July 14, 2017
World Media | By Joan Schultz

Sessions: More than 400 charged for health care fraud

Sessions: More than 400 charged for health care fraud

The Department of Justice on Thursday announced charges against 412 people in the largest combined health care fraud bust in the department's history.

"Too many trusted medical professionals.have chosen to violate their oaths and put greed ahead of their patients, " Sessions said.

A representative from the Federal Bureau of Investigation told Sessions not to include meetings he had with Russian officials if they happened in his capacity as a senator, the Justice Department said. The total defendants and false claims far surpassed last year's Medicare fraud takedown, which has become an annual show of force to combat the persistent problem that has cost the USA government billions of dollars in losses over the past decade. "We will bring you to justice", Sessions said. Anonymous sources say the crackdown is likely to net hundreds of arrests, including operators of addiction treatment centers who filed phony claims or sought reimbursement for drugs they then sold illegally. Abuse of the expensive painkillers often lead addicts to cheaper and often-lethal alternatives: heroin and fentanyl.

Sessions said close to 300 health care providers have been suspended or banned from participating in federal health care programs.

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Last year, an estimated 59,000 people in the USA died from drug overdoses, many of them linked to opioid abuse, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. "From Jeff Sessions to Jared Kushner to Donald Trump, Jr., the President's closest confidants appear to have collective amnesia about their dealings with the Russian government", the group's executive director, Austin Evers, said in a statement. A single doctor gave out 12,000 prescriptions for two million illegal opioid doses, according to the attorney general.

Sessions pledged his support late last month to "continue to enforce hate crime laws aggressively", and revealed for the first time his focus on crimes against those in the transgender community, despite previous opposition as a senator to the federal Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

"Thanks to these efforts, fewer criminals will be able to exploit our nation's opioid crisis for their own gain", said Tom Price, the secretary of health and human services.

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