|Addiction Treatment Industry Newswire
|07/29/2013 -ATIN – Famed CNN journalist Anderson Cooper in his capacity as anchor of the network’s primetime Anderson Cooper 360 news show will tonight (8 PM eastern) be airing “Rehab Racket” which has been sensationalistic in its promotions, promising the show will unveil fraud in America’s “largest Medicare program” without identifying specifically what that program is. Of course, by definition the nation’s largest Medicare program is Medi-Cal, California’s program, because California is our most populous state. The show is therefore likely to focus on recent investigations of potential fraud by addictions providers that have been announced lately in Sacramento and that originate out of some highly dubious state Senate investigations. Treatment Magazine thinks tonight’s show will be much ado about nothing, especially when compared to the HUGE instance and commonplace nature of med surg and physician government payor insurance fraud. Dominated by cheap television news tricks like ambushing confused addiction center owners who, after having CNN cameras shoved into their faces, naturally rush into their cars and speed away looking guilty as hell, the trailers for tonight’s show probably say it all.
We were indeed correct that CNN’s “Rehab Racket” was about recent announcements out of Sacremento about fraud in Medi-Cal addictions outpatient billing. What was utterly stunning was to hear Anderson Cooper, who is paid millions to stay abreast of the news as a reporter, express astonishment at the fraud uncovered by a CNN investigation into Medi-Cal outpatient payments. Yes, it is UTTERLY REPREHENSIBLE that providers bill insurance for services never rendered, but it shouldn’t be surprising to a supposed news sophisticate like Anderson Cooper. Anyone who regularly reads a newspaper knows Medicaid’s and Medicare’s biggest problem, not just in California but nationwide, is fraud, with up to one-third of all billing to some degree being problematic. We can understand Mr. Cooper being disgusted, but astonished and surprised? And CNN’s focus on perhaps $20M in Califonia addictions outpatient fraud is beside the point when problematic med surg and physician Medi-Cal billing is likely in the billions. The truly astonishing fact to come out the CNN report: a tiny $183M is spent on addiction treatment by Medi-Cal despite addiction being the overwhelming leading cause of death, disease and mayhem in the state.
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