Posted by Bill Sandweg on 03 January 2017.
As I have observed on prior occasions, the medical profession keeps insisting that medical malpractice claims are one of the big drivers of health care costs in America. Any reasonable person looking at the statistics will see that this is not true but very few people take the time to look at statistics. Even if it were true, however, the skirts of the medical profession are not clean. Its members are regularly charged and convicted of defrauding Medicare, the insurance companies, and even their own patients in the pursuit of the almighty dollar. I don’t comment every time a doctor is charged because, if I did, I wouldn’t have time to do anything else. I will comment, however, when an Arizona doctor gets caught.
Tricare is a federal program which provides civilian health care to members of the armed forces, their families and military retirees. In many ways it is similar to Medicare. One way in which it is similar is that some people try to defraud the program. Recently a doctor from Arizona was charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud.
The federal government has indicted an Arizona emergency department physician along with a number of other doctors and pharmacies as part of an alleged scheme to defraud the Tricare program by unnecessarily ordering expensive “compounded” drugs for their patients.
Compounded drugs are those which must be mixed (compounded) by hand from available ingredients. Since there is no manufacturer and no list price, the pharmacies doing the compounding can charge much more than if they were just counting pills and putting them in a container. Of course, whenever there are big profits to be made, there will be a temptation to cheat. The pharmacies are alleged to have paid kickbacks to the doctors who were ordering the compounded drugs for their patients. Everybody gets rich except for you and me.