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Government Snags 301 People in Nationwide Health-Care Fraud Sweep

Posted in Affordable Care Act, Fraud and Abuse, HIPAA and the HITECH Act, Home Healthcare, Hospitals and Institutions, Legislation and Public Policy, Litigation, Medicare and Medicaid, Pharmaceuticals, White Collar

Day Pitney healthcare lawyer Eric Fader was quoted in a June 22 article, “Government Snags 301 People in Nationwide Health-Care Fraud Sweep,” in Bloomberg BNA’s Health Care Daily Report. Eric commented on the government’s announcement that it charged 301 individuals with allegedly participating in various healthcare fraud schemes that led to roughly $900 million in fraudulent Medicare claims. The nationwide sweep by the government’s Medicare Fraud Strike Force included a variety of schemes involving home health care, physical and occupational therapy, and prescription drugs, among others.

Eric questioned the announcement’s effectiveness as a fraud deterrent because it doesn’t include specific names, and details on the charges appear only at the bottom of a very long press release. “I’m afraid that many fraudsters have short attention spans so they won’t even read down that far,” he said.

Eric opined that the government could do a better job of deterring fraud on a sustained basis by putting out a series of more detailed press releases, each highlighting a different type of fraud and putting a face on each one. This is the approach that the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights has taken over the past several years in publicizing settlements with alleged HIPAA violators.

Eric closed his comments with a prediction: “I think the home health and prescription drug worlds are really rife with fraud, and one splashy announcement isn’t going to magically fix that, so we should expect continued focus on these areas.”

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