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It may come as no great surprise to learn that a small minority of people in the health care system are picking our pockets, but a new report says health-care fraud adds up to at least $3 billion a year.
Medical fraud is raking billions out of the health care system that could be used to save lives, according to a new study by Michael Chettleburgh, co-founder and Director of Research of Fraudbox Inc.
And he says the fraud is being committed by some of the people we trust the most: Pharmacists, doctors, dentist and alternative health practitioners.
Chettleburgh's study is the first of its kind in Canada. He says he's found cases in which doctors or dentists are providing services "that are overkill for the nature of the disease or illness."
In the 2004 survey, "health care fraud" was defined to include any scheme involving the health care industry that is designed for illegal financial gain, such as:
* billing for services not rendered
* billing for drugs not dispensed
* filing an exaggerated insurance claim
* inflating the cost of the service provided
* and, the deliberate performance of medically unnecessary services
The study says $4 billion to $10 billion is stolen annually through such fraudulent schemes.