Correction to This Article
An item about increasing minority enrollment in U.S. medical schools misstated the overall enrollment increase this year compared with last year. The increase was 1.5 percent, not 2.5 percent.

Digest

Thursday, October 14, 2010

HEALTH CARE

Dozens charged inMedicare fraud ring

Dozens of people linked to a network of Armenian gangsters have been charged in a large Medicare fraud scam with overseas connections, federal prosecutors in New York City said Wednesday.

The suspects allegedly stole the identities of doctors and patients and set up phantom clinics and bank accounts. Authorities say they used the names to submit about $163 million in bills.

The scheme involved more than 100 fake health-care providers in about 25 states. Authorities called it the largest Medicare fraud ever by a single criminal enterprise.

The operation was under the protection of an Armenian crime boss, known in the former Soviet Union as a "vor," prosecutors said. The reputed boss, Armen Kazarian, was in custody in Los Angeles.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said that it was the first time a vor had been charged in a U.S. racketeering case.

The scheme's scope and sophistication puts "the traditional Mafia to shame," Bharara said at a New York news conference. "They ran a veritable fraud franchise."

Authorities said 73 people were charged in the case, and many of them are in custody.

- Associated Press

More minorities pursuing medicine

More minorities enrolled in medical schools across the country this year, a sign that more black, Hispanic and Native American students are interested in pursuing careers in medicine as the nation begins to implement the new health-care law, according to a study released Wednesday by the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Hispanic men represented the most significant increase compared with 2009, about 17 percent, while overall enrollment by Hispanic men and women rose 9 percent. The number of new African American medical students increased about 3 percent, the study said.

Native American enrollment increased by nearly 25 percent over last year, but the numbers were small compared with other minority groups.

Overall, the number of students who enrolled in medical school this year is up by 2.5 percent from last year.


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