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Healthcare Fraud in International Markets

Healthcare fraud is everywhere – even in countries that have government run programs. Below are some examples:

Healthcare fraud knows no boundaries. The U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs are equivalent to many government-sponsored programs in other countries. Regardless of country, the existence and roles of players within the healthcare continuum are the same. All healthcare systems have patients, providers, TPAs (third-party administrators) that process reimbursements to third parties, plan sponsors (usually government programs or private-pay activities) and support vendors.

Examples of international healthcare fraud are plentiful. In France, a psychiatric nursing home took advantage of patients to obtain their property. In 2004, a newspaper in South Africa reported “a man who posed as a homeopathic doctor was this week sentenced to 38 years in jail – the stiffest term ever imposed by a South African court on a person stealing from medical aids.” An Australian psychiatrist claimed more than $1 million by writing fake referrals of patients to himself; he also charged for the time spent having intimate relations with patients.

In Japan, as in the United States, there are examples of hospitals incarcerating patients, falsifying records and inflating numbers of doctors and nurses in facilities for profit. A U.K. medical researcher mislead his peers and the public by using his own urine sample for 12 research subjects. Switzerland, know for its watches, had providers sanctioned for billing 30-hour days.

Excerpt from Healthcare Fraud: Auditing & Detection Guide by Rebecca Busch

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