A nationwide law enforcement crackdown has charged 91 people with participating in Medicare fraud schemes involving $295 million in false billing.
Among those charged in the coordinated series of arrests was a doctor in Detroit who allegedly billed Medicare for services provided to dead people and claimed that he performed psychotherapy treatments more than 24 hours a day.
Other doctors, nurses and health-care company owners were charged in various schemes to get paid for services that were medically unnecessary or never provided, officials said.
From Brooklyn to Miami to Los Angeles, the defendants allegedly treated the Medicare program like a personal piggy bank, Lanny Breuer, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's criminal division, said at a news conference in Washington.
Over half the defendants of the total in phony claims came from South Florida, still leading the nation in Medicare fraud.
In Houston, two people were charged with fraud schemes involving $62 million in false claims for home health care and medical equipment.
In Baton Rouge, La., a doctor, nurse and five other co-conspirators were charged with billing Medicare more than $19 million for skilled nursing and other home health services that were not necessary or never provided.
The arrests, announced by Attorney General Eric Holder and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, marked the latest step in a campaign against fraud that the administration calls a key part of its health care reform agenda.
The healthcare overhaul law, President Obama's signature domestic initiative, remains an issue in the presidential campaign, but few have questioned the need to crack down on fraud.