Sunday, September 9, 2012

NHS & Medicare: Blowing In The Wind!

Blowing In The Wind© Am Ang Zhang 2012

As government money is the best money to be made anywhere, England's NHS will soon be giving away your money to privateers who perhaps need not even have to try the tricks they used in the US.

Latest Medicare Fraud  Dallas, Texas, USA.

Federal authorities announced charges Tuesday in the largest healthcare fraud scam in the nation's history, indicting a Dallas-area physician on charges that he bilked Medicare of nearly $375 million and accusing him of sending "recruiters" to scoop up patients and get them to sign for treatments he never provided.

Prosecutors said Roy and his office manager in DeSoto, Teri Sivils, who was also charged, sent healthcare "recruiters" door-to-door asking residents to sign forms that contained the doctor's electronic signature and stating that his practice had seen them professionally in their own homes.
They also dispatched "recruiters" to a homeless shelter in Dallas, paying the recruiters $50 every time they coaxed a street person to a nearby parking lot and signed him up on the bogus forms.

Even when officials suspended his Medicare license last June, they said, Roy found a way around that by shifting his business to another company.

Claims that there is no socialised medicine in the US is unfounded an their expenditure is scary! Yet there are very talented people trying to scam the system and unfortunately that includes doctors that will even do stents and transplants. 

Why can we not learn!

Medicare is a national social insurance program, administered by the U.S. federal governmentsince 1965, that guarantees access to health insurance for Americans ages 65 and older and younger people with disabilities as well as people with end stage renal disease. As a social insurance program, Medicare spreads the financial risk associated with illness across society to protect everyone, and thus has a somewhat different social role from for-profit private insurers, which manage their risk portfolio to maximize profitability by denying claims.[1]
Medicare spending is projected to increase from $560 billion in 2010 to just over $1 trillion by 2022.[20] In response, policymakers recently have offered a number of competing proposals to reduce Medicare costs.                            From Wikipedia.

Medicaid is the United States health program for certain people and families with low incomes and resources. It is a means-tested program that is jointly funded by the state and federal governments, and is managed by the states.[1] People served by Medicaid are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents, including low-income adults, their children, and people with certain disabilities. Poverty alone does not necessarily qualify someone for Medicaid. Medicaid is the largest source of funding for medical and health-related services for people with limited income in the United States.                                 

According to CMS, the Medicaid program provided health care services to more than 46.0 million people in 2001.[12][13] In 2002, Medicaid enrollees numbered 39.9 million Americans, the largest group being children [14] (18.4 million or 46 percent). Some 43 million Americans were enrolled in 2004 (19.7 million of them children) at a total cost of $295 billion. In 2008, Medicaid provided health coverage and services to approximately 49 million low-income children, pregnant women, elderly people, and disabled people. InCalifornia, about 23% of the population was enrolled in Medi-Cal for at least 1 month in 2009-10.[15]
Medicaid payments currently assist nearly 60 percent of all nursing home residents and about 37 percent of all childbirths in the United States. The federal government pays on average 57 percent of Medicaid expenses.                   From Wikipedia.


In the current push for applying market principles, the NHS is in serious danger of paying dearly for unnecessary treatment and worse, fraudulent claims by the new “suppliers” in the market place.

I have highlighted the problems in the US before. Fraud is seen as more profitable than drug dealing.

The US Medicare and Medicaid systems are in a way very similar to what the new market style NHS will be like. Tax-payers pay for them! The much hyped saving, if there is going to be any, will be swallowed up by paying for unnecessary treatment and fraud.

By how much? In the US:
26 OCT 2009

The U.S. healthcare system wastes between $600 billion and $850 billion annually, according to a white paper published by Thomson Reuters.

The report identifies the most significant drivers of wasteful spending - including administrative inefficiency, unnecessary treatment, medical errors, and fraud - and quantifies their cost. It is based on a review of published research and analyses of proprietary healthcare data.

"The bad news is that an estimated $700 billion is wasted annually. That's one-third of the nation's healthcare bill," said Robert Kelley, vice president of healthcare analytics at Thomson Reuters and author of the white paper. "The good news is that by attacking waste, healthcare costs can be reduced without adversely affecting the quality of care or access to care.

UNNECESSARY CARE (40% of healthcare waste): Unwarranted treatment, such as the over-use of antibiotics and the use of diagnostic lab tests to protect against malpractice exposure, accounts for $250 billion to $325 billion in annual healthcare spending.
FRAUD (19% of healthcare waste): Healthcare fraud costs $125 billion to $175 billion each year, manifesting itself in everything from fraudulent Medicare claims to kickbacks for referrals for unnecessary services.

“The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) estimates that fraudulent billings to public
and private healthcare programs are 3-10 percent of total health spending, or $75–$250
billion in fiscal year 2009.”

“Fraud and abuse” occupies the extreme end of the continuum of appropriateness of use and potential waste. While arguments can be made about the appropriateness of some of the care described in the previous section, and, therefore, its classification as waste, no reasonable argument can be made for the contribution of fraud and abuse to quality of care or outcomes. They are cases of intentional misrepresentation resulting in excess payment, including billing for services never rendered and the knowing provision of unnecessary care. Most fraudulent and abusive practices simply add cost with no value, but others actually expose patients to the risk associated with unnecessary procedures.

Practices leading to waste include:
• The intentional provision of unnecessary or inappropriate services
• Billing for services never provided, often with patients’ participation in the fraud, often for
deceased patients
• Misrepresentation of the cost of care by insurers to group plan sponsors
• Kickbacks for referrals for unnecessary services
• Misbranding of a drug by a pharmaceutical company
• Abuse of the healthcare system by patients to receive harmful services, such as Medicaid  recipients with drug addictions enrolling in multiple states.

ADMINISTRATIVE INEFFICIENCY (17% of healthcare waste): The large volume of redundant paperwork in the U.S healthcare system accounts for $100 billion to $150 billion in spending annually.
HEALTHCARE PROVIDER ERRORS (12% of healthcare waste): Medical mistakes account for $75 billion to $100 billion in unnecessary spending each year.
PREVENTABLE CONDITIONS (6% of healthcare waste): Approximately $25 billion to $50 billion is spent annually on hospitalizations to address conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes, which are much less costly to treat when individuals receive timely access to outpatient care.
LACK OF CARE COORDINATION (6% of healthcare waste): Inefficient communication between providers, including lack of access to medical records when specialists intervene, leads to duplication of tests and inappropriate treatments that cost $25 billion to $50 billion annually.

BBC 20 May 2008
A dentist and his wife who stole more than £30,000 from the NHS by claiming money for treatment never given to patients have been jailed.
Newton Johnson, 52, and his wife Judith, 51, also claimed for treatment for "phantom" patients, which included the name of a family pet dog.

UK Dental Fraud: 2007200820102012

Yes, how many deaths will it take till he knows

That too many people have died ?

The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind

The answer is blowin' in the wind.

Bob Dylan

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