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California Marines Wrapped Up In $67 Million Scam To Rip Off TRICARE
A group of Marines based in southern California are embroiled in a health insurance scam that cost the military’s medical provider, TRICARE, more than $67 million. The scheme, reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune on Aug. 18, involved Marines who were allegedly paid $100 to $300 a month to talk to doctors as part of a “telemedicine exam,” according to an affidavit obtained by the Union-Tribune.
The alleged scam involved a network of Marines in southern California who would call into a doctor’s office in Cleveland, Tennessee, to receive prescriptions for compounded medication — expensive drugs tailor-made for patients — that would be then filled by a pharmacy in Bountiful, Utah, that had a license to ship to California. Then TRICARE was billed for the costly medication.
According to the report, the Utah pharmacy was sold to new owners in 2014. After the new owners took over, the number of claims to TRICARE for compound medications shot up dramatically. Just four months into 2015, the number of prescriptions for the expensive drugs ballooned to 4,637, resulting in $67.3 million in reimbursements from TRICARE, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
The Union-Tribune broke the story after the U.S. Attorney’s Office filed a complaint on Aug. 17 in San Diego, as part of an asset forfeiture case against Jimmy and Ashley Collins, who own Choice MD, a medical practice in Cleveland, Tennessee. The majority of the prescriptions were authorized by emergency room doctors who worked for Choice MD.
No arrests have been made in the ongoing San Diego investigation, though these kinds of scams aren’t new. Investigations into similar cases across the country have led to arrests, with a Pompano Beach, Florida pharmacy owner facing charges of attempting to rip off TRICARE for $37 million in a similar scheme involving compound medication.
TRICARE, the military’s medical provider, serves more than 9.4 million service members and their families.
“While we cannot comment on open investigations, TRICARE is committed to protecting the integrity of the benefits our service members have earned and deserve,” TRICARE officials told Task & Purpose via email. “We have and will continue to work with law enforcement departments and agencies to stop these fraudulent activities.”
A massive billing glitch in Tricare's East region, managed by Humana, on Thursday slammed about 25,000 beneficiaries with premium charges 100 times more than they owe monthly for their coverage.
A Minnesota Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter with three Guardsmen aboard crashed south of St. Cloud on Thursday, said National Guard spokeswoman Army Master Sgt. Blair Heusdens.
At this time, the National Guard is not releasing any information about the status of the three people aboard the helicopter, Heusdens told Task & Purpose on Thursday.
A missing Canadian ex-soldier was reportedly smuggled across the US border and is hiding with a neo-Nazi group
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
Former Canadian Army Reserve Master Cpl. Patrik Mathews, 26, was first identified as a member of The Base by Winnipeg Free Press reporter Ryan Thorpe.
Days after Thorpe's report was published, Mathews went missing and was discharged from the military for his alleged ties to the group. His car was found about 10 miles from the U.S. border soon thereafter, and police found a cache of weapons when they raided his home.
Vice reporters Ben Makuch, Mack Lamoureux, and Zachary Kamel, citing confidential sources, reported on Thursday that Mathews had been illegally smuggled across the border and is being hidden by members of The Base, which has operated in encrypted chatrooms as a largely online organization.
The Pentagon's latest attempt to twist itself in knots to deny that it is considering sending up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East has a big caveat.
Pentagon spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said there are no plans to send that many troops to the region "at this time."
Farah's statement does not rule out the possibility that the Defense Department could initially announce a smaller deployment to the region and subsequently announce that more troops are headed downrange.
The Navy could deploy a second carrier to the Middle East if Trump orders an Iran surge, top admiral says
The Navy could send a second aircraft carrier to the Middle East if President Donald Trump orders a surge of forces to the region, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said on Thursday.
Gordon Lubold and Nancy Youssef of the Wall Street Journal first reported the United States is considering sending up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East to deter Iran from attacking U.S. forces and regional allies. The surge forces could include several ships.