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Treat Medi-Cal Fraud as the Big Crime It Is

January 04, 2003

Re "State Hit Hard by Medical Fraud," Dec. 26: Let me get this straight. You plead guilty to stealing more than $3 million from California taxpayers, your "punishment" (so far) is probation and restitution of $100,000 -- and the rocket scientists in Sacramento can't figure out why Medi-Cal fraud is rampant. This kind of punishment isn't a deterrent, it's an incentive plan! Robbing a convenience store of $50 and a six-pack will get you a stiffer sentence than that. Every thief in the world will be heading to California for a piece of the Medi-Cal pie when he gets wind of our "slap on the wrist" justice.

The mandatory sentence for Medi-Cal fraud should be five years in Pelican Bay and an extra day for every dollar that is not recovered. When we start prosecuting white-collar crime like the real crime it is, maybe the crooks will get the message.

Charles Fawcett

Westminster

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The only way to stop fraud is to involve the patient. Every time I visit the doctor, I should be asked to sign a form detailing the care I was given. I keep one copy, one goes to Medicare and/or my HMO and the doctor keeps the third copy. A sign should be posted and fliers given to patients warning them that any misrepresentation by doctor or patient is punishable by a year in prison and a $5,000 fine. This should help keep people honest and save the state millions.

Jean Desmond

Rancho Palos Verdes

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