Originally published November 18 2008
Three Southern California Hospitals Accused of Recruiting Indigents to Commit Fraud
by Joanne Waldron
(NaturalNews) Remember several years ago when the news story broke about a group of homeless people that were dumped by an ambulance in L.A.'s skid row? An investigation reveals that the truth is even more sinister than this, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times. It appears that three Southern California hospitals are involved in a crooked scheme to defraud taxpayer-funded healthcare programs to the tune of millions of dollars by recruiting homeless patients to receive unnecessary medical services and then rewarding these destitute people with a few bucks for their participation in the scam.
How The Scam Works
Authorities report, according to the article, that the scam works by using street runners to go to slum areas and recruit potential patients, for which these recruiters are paid anywhere from twenty to forty bucks. The indigents recruited for the scam are then taken to a storefront center where their medical benefits are verified and some medical symptoms are fabricated. The recruits spend from one to three days in the hospital and then are taken back to the recruitment building and paid between twenty and thirty bucks. The hospitals are then billed by the storefront center for the recruits, according to court documents and offices of the U.S. attorney and city attorney.
Indigents Given Risky Treatments
Sadly, some of the poor people recruited received treatments that were potentially harmful. Some of the recruited patients were rewarded with money, food or cigarettes if they could find other people to participate in the scam. According to the article, it didn't matter if the patients were on drugs or if they had psychiatric disorders. Some of the recruits were even treated for heart conditions that didn't exist, putting them in harm's way.
Shocking Moral Depravity
Authorities were completely shocked at the wickedness of this evil scheme, exploiting weak and unfortunate people to make money. "The defendants are accused of preying on the homeless and exploiting their desperate conditions for personal gain," said Salvador Hernandez, assistant director in charge of the FBI's Los Angeles office, according to the Los Angeles Times. There were raids on three area hospitals in Los Angeles and Orange County, and numerous charges, both federal and civil, have been filed against doctors, recruiters, hospital executives, Pacific Health Corp., Los Angeles Doctors Hospital Corp., Intercare Health Systems Inc. -- and the list doesn't stop there.
How Can Patients Trust Doctors?
Is there no end to the moral depravity in this world? How are patients in the Southern California area ever going to be able to trust the doctors if so many of them and other hospital executives were really involved in these evil money-making criminal acts? One also has to wonder if the care of legitimate patients suffered while the phony patients were being treated. This whole scenario certainly invites the question of whether or not these kinds of activities could be going on at other hospitals around the country – just one more compelling reason to stay in good health!
About the authorJoanne Waldron is a computer scientist with a passion for writing and sharing health-related news and information with others. She hosts the Naked Wellness: The Gentle Health Revolution forum, which is devoted to achieving radiant health, well-being, and longevity.
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