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21/10/2010

4 charged in Medicare scam against mentally ill

MIAMI – Federal authorities in Florida have charged the country's largest chain of community mental health centers with Medicare fraud for allegedly overcharging for services to patients with dementia.

Court documents allege the Miami-based company billed Medicare $200 million dollars in a scam that altered patient files so they could charge for more services.

According to court records, American Therapeutic Corporation paid the owners of assisted living facilities and halfway houses to force patients to attend programs at their seven mental health centers. Some patients also cashed in on the scheme by providing their Medicare numbers, while others were "not coherent enough" to demand kickbacks.

An employee tip prompted the investigation by the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services.

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