For ten years (1998 – 2004) a company that went under the name of Health Visions Corporation (VHC) fleeced TRICARE. The claimed amount lost was $100 million. We know from DODIG reports that TRICARE knew they were being fleeced but continued to ignore it even after the DODIG bashed them for their failures.
When TRICARE finally did react they did so with a vengeance against beneficiaries, blaming them for many of their ills and claiming that they were responsible. At the time comments such as “They [beneficiaries] deserve whatever they get.”, “Military retirees are not satisfied with living the good life in the Philippines so spend their time defrauding TRICARE.”, “If they [beneficiaries] didn’t use HVC then there wouldn’t have been any fraud.” and on and on. With this attitude is there any wonder that beneficiaries in the Philippines have suffered with draconian and arbitrary policies that were implemented to harm them or implemented through ignorance of the local health care industry practices and policies. Were there decisions colored because they harbored this loathing for a group of beneficiaries they saw as the root of their problems and the reason for the negative DODIG reports against them? Based on comments we received from some TRICARE employees at the time one could easily draw that conclusion. At the very least it was obvious to some that they had dehumanized beneficiaries in the Philippines by their comments and attitude which made it easy to disregard their concerns and the harm that came to them.
Fast forward to 2015, a full ten years later and what do we see in the headlines? Compound drugs fleece TRICARE, create deep budget hole.
But this time there are major differences in how TRICARE reacts.
- Instead of fraud in the Philippines we find it is in the United States and referred to as “inappropriate and potentially fraudulent activity”.
- Instead of $100 million lost over ten years we find $1.7 billion lost and it only took nine months and that doesn’t include the loses from the previous fiscal year.
- The loss is of such magnitude that TRICARE claims they will not be able to pay legitimate medical claims for the last part of the fiscal year unless Congress comes up with additional money or allows the Pentagon to reprogram money from other areas.
- New policies were put in place to reduce this “inappropriate and potentially fraudulent activity”.
To put this into prospective the cost to the taxpayer per year was $10 million for the HVC fraud which was shut down and prosecuted and beneficiaries accused of various fraudulent acts and draconian measures implemented that has cost effected beneficiaries millions of dollars in lost reimbursements. And HVC was no longer paid for future claims and an executive of the company was tried and prosecuted for fraud.
The cost to the taxpayer for this current “inappropriate and potentially fraudulent activity” comes to $2.27 billion per year. Yet not a word from TRICARE about closing down the offending companies or blaming TRICARE beneficiaries in the United States of fraudulent activity or claims that TRICARE wouldn’t be in this situation if beneficiaries had simply not used this provider. Nor do we see draconian measures that will cause these beneficiaries to not be reimbursed for future legitimate claims.
The differences are glaringly obvious.
If you want to find out the real story behind DHA’s focused attack on TRICARE beneficiaries in the Philippines instead of their spin and propaganda, read TRICARE: Betrayal in the Philippines, Is This the Future of TRICARE Overseas? It is available at the link and most online book sales outlets such as iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Amazon and others.
Never forget the Defense Health Agency and International SOS always have your back when it comes to high quality and easy access to care; just ask them!