NYT Misrepresents Medicare Scam Story

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Tuesday, 29 April 2014 06:34

People reading the front page of the NYT yesterday saw the headline, "One Therapist, $4 Million in 2012 Medicare Billing." That sounds like some pretty serious fraud, since $4 million would be pretty high annual pay for a physical therapist.

Those who read all the way through the piece would find that this was money paid to a therapist who has several offices and claims to employ a total of 24 therapists. This still sounds like a lot of money ($167,000 per therapist), but certainly a very different story than was conveyed by the headline.

Medicare fraud is a really serious problem and the NYT is right to go after it. But this headline seriously misrepresented the nature of the issues in this article. There may well have been improper payments made to this therapist, but there is an enormous difference between what is implied by the headline and likely size of any improper payments, assuming that he did in fact employ 24 therapists.