In the latter half of 2006, Medicare beneficiaries living with HIV/AIDS in South Florida filed, on average, nine times more Medicare claims than did those in the rest of the United States. The statistic appeared in a recent report from the Office of the Inspector General.

One possible explanation for the dispartity: fraud. In April, 10 owners of Florida medical clinics were indicted for allegedly billing more than $12.5 million in false Medicare claims for HIV/AIDS treatment services and medical equipment.

“We recommend that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services treat South Florida as a high-risk area and mandate site visits for certain types of providers before issuing provider numbers,” said Inspector General Daniel Levinson.