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Report: U.S. recovered $4.2 billion from healthcare fraud in 2012

February 11, 2013|By Chad Terhune
  • Federal officials say they recovered nearly $8 for every dollar spent on healthcare fraud investigations in 2012.
Federal officials say they recovered nearly $8 for every dollar spent on… (Scott Eells / Bloomberg )

Federal officials said they recovered a record-high $4.2 billion related to healthcare fraud and abuse in fiscal year 2012.

U.S. Atty. Eric Holder and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the federal government recovered $7.90 for every dollar spent on healthcare-related fraud and abuse investigations.

The total of $4.2 billion in taxpayer dollars recovered for fiscal year 2012 was up slightly from $4.1 billion a year earlier, officials said. It's estimated that Medicare loses about $60 billion annually to fraud and improper payments.

"We are gaining the upper hand in our fight against healthcare fraud," Sebelius said.

The Obama administration has tried to crack down on Medicare fraud by boosting investigations in certain "hot spots" such as Miami and Los Angeles and using technology to detect schemes sooner.

Last year, Medicare said it began screening all 1.5-million providers enrolled in the government healthcare program to identify ineligible and potentially fraudulent providers or suppliers. As a result, officials said nearly 150,000 ineligible providers were booted from Medicare.

Still, some members of Congress have complained that the Obama administration has been too slow to deploy technology widely used by the credit-card industry to weed out fraud and abuse.

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