Tag Archives: fraud

Health fraud runs rampant


According to the OPP Health Fraud Investigations’ website [update April 2018- OPP website is not available anymore] , health fraud investigations are conducted in 3 areas of health care services:

  • Provider Fraud (physicians, pharmacists, optometrists) – fraudulent billings for medically unnecessary services or “bogus” services
  • User Fraud  – abuse and misuse of the health care system ( example: receiving health care services while using somebody else’s OHIP health card or illegally obtained health card)
  • Drug Diversion – black market trade in narcotics and other prescription medication

The FBI estimates that Health Care Fraud costs American tax payers $80 billion a year (http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/white_collar/health-care-fraud).  I’m not aware of any current estimates for Ontario, but I suspect it is well over $300 million a year.
Recently Deb Matthews, in order to control health care costs and save $338 million, cut  fees for OHIP services.  If the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC) was doing a better job in the accountability and fraud areas, none of these fee cuts would be necessary. Deb Matthews continues to penalize honest doctors;  fraudsters continue to claim “bogus” services to OHIP and OHIP pays.

It is good news though, that there are more and more people who are interested in finding out what  the MOHLTC actually does in order to identify and prevent fraudulent practices. They argue that the Ministry does not do enough, that the OHIP claim system lacks proper validation of submitted claims.

Take for example a request that was made to the MOHLTC  under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act  and described in “Order PO-3105, Appeal PA11-235, MOHLTC, August 21, 2012”  
[old link] http://www.ipc.on.ca/english/Decisions-and-Resolutions/Decisions-and-Resolutions-Summary/?id=8971
[new link] https://decisions.ipc.on.ca/ipc-cipvp/orders/en/item/133973/index.do.
The appellant made a request for access to information relating to the “Rules for determining the Validity and Eligibility of claims and the Medical Rules for the Assessment of OHIP claims.”  If the Ministry could provide the validation rules that they follow to detect ineligible or fraudulent claims, it would be easy to check if the Ministry really implemented these rules in the OHIP system.

There are too many scandals with accountability and lack of oversight in MOHLTC that cost Ontarians billions (eHealth, ORNGE, Diabetes Registry).  It is reasonable to ask what kind of mechanisms the Ministry have to prevent paying for fraudulent claims. Or does the Ministry just pay without any checking?

I was very entertained by the Ministry answer to the above request:

“ Medical rules for determining the validity and eligibility of claims are embedded in the OHIP medical claims processing system and are part of the application program code. They are not documented.”


Wow! Everything is in the program code. Is Ministry saying that there are no business requirements documents describing rules for validation of OHIP claims? Test plans are created from requirements documents…are there no test plans? Is there any testing done at all?

And here is more entertaining news from the Ministry.  Medical  Rules are not documented but there is a document with “computerized medical rules”:

“A document containing 1,363 pages that sets out the computerized medical rules of assessment of OHIP claims was located. Access to the document is being denied pursuant to sections 18(1)(c), (d) and 14(1)(i) of the Act.”


These answers from the Ministry don’t make sense. It seems to be that the Ministry does not want to admit that the OHIP claims system does not  validate claims, there is no accountability.  Ministry answer is “go fish”.

Some of the medical rules that the OHIP claims system should be using for validation can be found in the  Community Health Center Payment and Reporting Guide  or Billing Payment Guide for Blended Salary Model (BSM) Physicians.


Health Care, OHIP


Those who work in the Ontario health care sector know that too much money is wasted. Too much money goes to Who Knows Where.

From time to time we hear about a new “health care” scandal. We’ve heard about $1 billion e-health scandal, ORNGE, Family Health Teams “ghost” employees, probably something else is going to show up next month.

Why is it like that?

Because Ministry of Health has a very serious accountability problem. Fraudulent activity is allowed, government officials do not bother to do anything about it. They prefer to reduce the number of services OHIP pays for, cut doctor’s fees, blame it on the aging population. But if they had addressed rampant fraud in Health Care these measures would not be necessary.

Take for example the case described in the Information and Privacy Commissioner order against Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care from 2001 [old link] http://www.ipc.on.ca/english/Decisions-and-Resolutions/Decisions-and-Resolutions-Summary/?id=3440 .
[new link] https://decisions.ipc.on.ca/ipc-cipvp/orders/en/item/131217/index.do .

“The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (the Ministry) received correspondence from a requester who identified that he had been provided with a ‘decoded list of services’ billed Health Insurance Plan(OHIP)account by an identified doctor(the doctor).

The requester noted that the services listed in this record are false. His letter stated that the incorrect services listed in the record included treatment for malignant neoplasms-brain, alcoholism, anxiety neurosis, hysteria, neurasthenia and reactive depression. His letter also sets out that while the doctor had provided some services to him in the past, specifically flu shots and physical examinations, the doctor had not treated him for any of the conditions listed in the record.
The requester also stated that he has never had any of these medical conditions, nor has he been treated for them. The requester asked the Ministry to remove these inaccurate claims from his record.”


Once the fraudulent claims were made, and the phony data is entered into the system, it looks like these records stay with the patient forever.

If you are looking for a job, buying insurance or waiting for a surgery, you will be treated in accordance with these erroneous health records.

To receive a list of services that were claimed against you as a patient, you can submit a request to the Ministry of Health (request form is called “Request to Access Personal Health Information (PHIPA) “ and can be found on the Information and Privacy Commissioner web site https://www.ipc.on.ca/access/accessing-information-2/requesting-personal-information/.

I encourage you to do so. It is good to know what data the Ministry has about you. Particularly that it is almost impossible to have this fraudulent information removed.