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An opioid epidemic. High smoking rates. Health care provider shortages. Indiana faces serious public health challenges. Side Effects Public Media provides in-depth coverage of these issues and more.

15 Hoosiers, 2 Companies Indicted In Massive National Medicaid Fraud Sting

Office of the Attorney General for Elkhart County

In Indiana, seven federal criminal investigations have uncovered over $1 million in Medicaid fraud, leading to the indictment of 15 individuals and two companies on various charges.

The completed investigations were part of a national initiative led by several federal agencies and both Indiana and Kentucky Medicaid Fraud Control Units, which Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill’s office called the largest medical fraud takedown in U.S. history.

Indiana Medicaid Fraud Control Unit Director Matt Whitmire says the crackdown doesn’t necessarily mean healthcare fraud is on the rise.

“I think our vigilance has increased,” he says. “We do more data work to find bad billing. We work with the state agencies better in finding the fraud.”

The fraud uncovered in Indiana include transportation billing for trips that never happened, money laundering and illegal opioid prescribing.

The U.S. Department of Justice reported taking down $1.3 billion dollars in opioid scams nationwide. Whitmire says the number of opioid cases surprised him.

“This opioid crisis is not just a local problem; it’s a national problem affecting everybody,” he says.

Among those indicted are two Evansville chiropractors, who are accused of money laundering through distributing controlled substances using signed blank prescription pads.

Another Indianapolis-area chiropractor has been indicted on charges of directing people to use certain compounding pharmacies in exchange for kickbacks.

According to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who announced the national takedown Thursday, more than 412 people in at least 30 states--including 115 medical professionals--have been indicted in the takedown for alleged participation in health care fraud schemes. Those schemes involve approximately $1.3 billion in false billings.