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Medicare fraud affects home care for seniors

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Unscrupulous health companies have prompted new Medicare rules that are disrupting care for elderly patients. The companies created false patient files and charged Medicare for multiple visits per day. This resulted in new Medicare rules limiting how much home health care companies can make from patients who need multiple daily visits.

The new rule has prompted some companies to drop some of their costly multiple-daily-visit patients, while others refuse to take them. This has occurred despite rules prohibiting companies from dropping seniors without helping them find new home health care companies.

The problem is especially widespread in South Florida, according to the Sun Sentinel, costing an estimated $3 billion a year. Some of the companies classified diabetics who actually gave themselves injections as needing multiple daily visits, while others enlisted healthy clients to sign up for multiple daily visits by offering bribes or in exchange for having nurses do household chores. Medicare responded by suspending 40 of the some 600 companies in that county.