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Health Fraud - as Defined by the US Government

Opinion by Consumer Advocate Tim Bolen

 

Health Fraud is a huge problem in the United States.  We'll show you two parts of it here...

(1)  The Department of Health and Human Services And The Department of Justice Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control Program Annual Report For FY 2001 Executive summary, published April 2002 says:

The detection and elimination of health care fraud and abuse is a top priority of Federal law enforcement. Our efforts to combat fraud were consolidated and strengthened considerably by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). HIPAA established a national Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control Program (HCFAC or the Program), under the joint direction of the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), acting through the Department's Inspector General (HHS/OIG), designed to coordinate Federal, state and local law enforcement activities with respect to health care fraud and abuse. The fifth year of operation under the Program saw a continuation of the collaborative efforts of Federal and state enforcement and oversight agencies to identify and prosecute the most egregious instances of health care fraud, to prevent future fraud or abuse, and to protect program beneficiaries.

Monetary Results

In 2001, the Federal government won or negotiated more than $1.7 billion in judgments, settlements, and administrative impositions in health care fraud cases and proceedings. As a result of these activities, as well as prior year judgments, settlements, and administrative impositions, the Federal government collected more than $1.3 billion. More than $1 billion of the funds collected and disbursed in 2001 were returned to the Medicare Trust Fund. An additional $42.8 million was recovered as the Federal share of Medicaid restitution. This is the largest return to the government since the inception of the Program.

Enforcement Actions

Federal prosecutors filed 445 criminal indictments in health care fraud cases in 2001. A total of 465 defendants were convicted for health care fraud-related crimes in 2001. There were also 1,746 civil matters pending, and 188 civil cases filed in 2001. HHS excluded 3,756 individuals and entities from participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs, or other federally sponsored health care programs, most as a result of convictions for crimes relating to Medicare or Medicaid, for patient abuse or neglect, or as a result of licensure revocations. This record number of exclusion actions is the result of successful collaboration with state Medicaid Fraud Control Units (MFCUs) and state licensure boards."

 

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