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Seniors at Risk for Hospital Medicare Fraud

In the current economy, hospitals and medical facilities are tightening their belts and looking for ways to boost revenue. Medicare fraud and manipulation are increasing and seniors who are covered by Medicare are often in the middle of it. When unscrupulous healthcare professionals make it their goal to rake in as much Medicare money as possible, seniors can face substandard care, unnecessary hospital admissions and surgical procedures that actually increase their risk for medical complications — or death.

Last year, CBS aired a program detailing their investigation of Health Management Associates, Inc. (HMA). The company operates 70 for-profit hospitals in the United States. More than a hundred ex-employees reported that they were pressured to meet admission quotas to bring in more money. For instance, 50 percent of all seniors who arrived in the emergency room were supposed to be rerouted to a hospital bed since they were covered by Medicare. These seniors were put at risk of hospital-acquired infections and other complications from unnecessary procedures.

Medicare tries to discourage this sort of behavior by rewarding facilities for shorter patient stays, but this can also work against senior patients. A doctor in Florida recently blew the whistle on the hospital where he was employed. He was getting a $5,000 bonus for discharging patients in less than three days, a practice that netted the hospital a higher Medicare reimbursement.

When the healthcare system is focused on manipulating the Medicare system for profit, the safety and well-being of senior patients is often comprised. Speak with a knowledgeable Medicare fraud attorney if you have questions about the treatment you received.