I want to send congratulations to the US District Attorney’s Office – District of New Jersey; they have uncovered a fraud scheme worth $93 Million in kickback frauds, bribery, and theft of taxpayer monies; this is good news for the United States. From me, you have my deepest thanks!
Some significant details are missing from this report, and I would expect these details to have been made public:
- How many of those charged were employees of Medicare, TRICARE, and CHAMPVA?
- How long was this scheme in place before discovery?
- How was this scheme discovered?
- Who was offered immunity from prosecution to turn traitor and open the doors to the scheme? Why?
One partial question was answered, “From March 2018 to October 2019, several conspirators withdrew money from the scheme approximately $1.6 Million.” I guess this is as good a time as any to remind everyone that under the law, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Five people are charged in this case, where two others have admitted guilt, bringing the total of people involved to seven.
Some things might be slightly different from my time in government procurement, US Army, and US Navy. I know that when you use the same provider more than two or three times in a single quarter of a fiscal year, someone should be asking a bunch of why questions and checking the contract. Yet, to the best of my understanding of the case details as provided, this was not occurring. Thus, more questions need to be raised:
- Who are the contracting officers in this case for the government agencies most affected by the fraud?
- Who are the supervisors of the contracting officers who allowed these abnormalities to exist without question?
- Who is reviewing the contracts to improve protection against fraud in the future?
Remember, no employment details were provided for those charged to see who was/is a government employee and who was/is not. But, with Medicare, TRICARE, and CHAMPVA all involved, there should be a lot more details coming forth, and as of today (28 April 2021), there is nothing more available. Bringing more questions to the front:
- Where is the media covering another government fraud case? Surely this should be of interest to every media outlet since the scheme covered at least some of President Trump’s tenure. You would presume the media’s Trump Derangement Syndrome would have kicked-in to plaster this news nationwide.
- Where are the investigative reporters tasked with finding the details, rooting out the causes, and spurring politicians to action to “fix the government?”
- Where are the politicians, those who had to be notified about this case, in praising the DA’s office, clambering for justice for the taxpayer, and promising that these people involved will face stern justice? Or are these politicians silent because it doesn’t allow them to play a race/sex/gender card?
Healthcare fraud remains the number one issue for Medicare and the VA to tackle, as well as TRICARE, Tri-West, CHAMPVA, and every other government healthcare agency. The problem lies in how the administrators do their jobs, affect policy, and scrutinize their employees. Yet, every government healthcare fraud case leaves out the details of what the agencies will change to avoid future problems and prevent similar schemes.
- When will the heads of these government healthcare agencies be hauled in front of Congress to testify about healthcare fraud, and why they continue to refuse to follow the law laid down by Congress?
- When will Congress develop a spine and hold these bureaucrat administrators accountable for the failure of their agencies to protect the taxpayer from fraud, bribery, theft, and other healthcare scams that only make problems worse and cost billions in dollars annually?
- Where are the politicians who are sick to death of seeing fraud occur and not seeing action by those placed to head these organizations?
As an employee, two other employees and I signed a letter claiming that the processes being followed by the Emergency Department of the VA Hospital in Albuquerque, NM., were violating the Fraud, Waste, and Abuse of the government. We proposed changes that would improve patient care, increase employee productivity, and increase the security of patient HIPAA information. The HAS Administrator refused even to consider the letter, even with favorable approval from the supervisor. I sent the letter to the hotline, the specific place every poster in government buildings tells people to contact when you witness fraud, waste, and abuse in government. My answer was crickets! Then, I was terminated from employment; that is how the VA administrators treat employees who try to raise the bar in performance and reduce fraud, waste, and abuse. See, if you are not an employee, you cannot be a whistle-blower. Nice loophole for administrators to employ to threaten, cajole, Quid Pro Quo, and protect themselves from accountability!
- When will the administrators be held accountable for the fraud, waste, and abuse experienced in their agencies?
- When will the taxpayer be vindicated and receive just consideration of rights and accountability for taxpayer dollars wasted, stolen, and debt increased without cause?
Please do not allow the tone of this article to produce a fraudulent thought; I have no problems with the government helping its citizens. But I demand better accountability and responsibility from those few selected to lead the agencies involved. I demand higher accountability from the politicians, who chose to run for office, and whose job it is to scrutinize the government! I demand a complete and accurate accounting for my tax dollar, and this should not be a complex action for any government to make. When fraud is your number one issue and has been since your agency was launched, I would expect some progress to have been made in processes, procedures, and standards by now, and I do not see any of this occurring!
© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.