Eleonora Edreva / WLRN

Medicare and Medicaid were established 50 years ago on July 30.

To celebrate the occasion, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) had an event at Florida International University to reflect on the impact of the programs during the past half century, as well as look forward at how they can keep expanding and improving.

The event was themed as a birthday party, with a performance by a group of dancers from Little Havana and cake for everyone once the speakers were done.

The University of Miami School of Business hosted its yearly health care conference Monday. The main topic of discussion was “disruptive innovation,” which organizer and professor Steven Ullmann says means "to disrupt how we do health care provision in this country."

Ullmann says the health care system now is fragmented, and that makes it expensive.

As privately run Medicare health plans for seniors scramble to stave off proposed funding cuts, federal prosecutors in Florida are pursuing an unusual criminal fraud case that's likely to raise new concerns that some plans may be overcharging the government.

The criminal case is believed to be among the first to take aim at billing practices of Medicare Advantage plans, which are popular with seniors because out-of-pocket costs are lower and they provide more benefits than traditional Medicare.

Seniors On Medicare Patrol In Miami

Jun 27, 2014
Al Diaz / Miami Herald

It’s a crime that requires no guns. It frequently goes unnoticed until after the fact, and the victims are unwitting U.S. taxpayers duped to the tune of $68 billion a year. Medicare fraud has become one of the most profitable illegal activities in the country — and South Florida is the most likely place to get fleeced.

Patrisyu /


A ProPublica investigation earlier this month looked at how Medicare providers charged for their services in 2012 and found unusual billing patterns among a number of Florida care providers.

On average, most providers only charged for the most complex, expensive level of care during office visits about 4 percent of the time. But in Florida, nearly 100 Medicare providers with relatively high volume billed at the most expensive rate 100 percent of the time.

Today on WLRN-Miami Herald News, you heard:

cooldesign /

A group of Florida doctors has been charging Medicare at a surprisingly high rate.

A ProPublica investigation analyzed a recently released Medicare database and found unusual billing patterns in Florida and elsewhere. ProPublica used that same data to create an online tool that lets patients see how individual doctors compare to their peers when it comes to procedures and billing patterns.

Florida Power & Light

Governor Rick Scott and his cabinet approved two more nuclear reactors to the Turkey Point power plant on Biscayne Bay. But neighbors are worried about the construction of 88 miles of transmission lines, and environmentalists question why Florida Power & Light wants more nuclear facilities by the coast.

A ProPublica investigation reveals unusual billing patterns among Florida’s Medicare providers. We ask how this connects to Florida’s history of Medicare fraud.

Florida Docs Charge Medicare Top Rate For Office Visits

May 15, 2014
Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee /

Office visits are the bread and butter of many physicians’ practices. Medicare pays for more than 200 million of them a year, often to deal with routine problems like colds or high blood pressure. Most require relatively modest amounts of a doctor’s time or medical know-how.

Wilson Sayre

The Miami-Dade County Parks and Recreation Department is trying to do its part to help seniors navigate the health insurance maze.

Yesterday, the department kicked off a series of health fairs to be held all over the county as part of their Active Adults program.

Health service providers gave short presentations about how they can help to navigate the complicated health system -- tips about how to get the most out of coverage and ways to avoid health care fraud.