Health Law Blog - Healthcare Legal Issues

Annual Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control Program Report

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently released its annual Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control Program (HCFAC) reports report indicates that in the last three years for every dollar spent on health care related fraud and abuse investigations through HCFAC and other government programs, the government recovered $8.10. This is a record high for the 17-year old HFAC program. The HFAC program focuses on eliminating fraud, waste, and abuse in the health care industry.

A few notes on the report’s numbers:

• The federal government recovered a record-breaking $4.3 billion in fiscal year 2013 alone.
• Over the last five years, the federal government recovered $19.2 billion—this is more than double the previous five-year period.
• In fiscal year 2013, the DOJ and HHS strike force team filed 137 cases, charged 345 individuals with crimes, secured 234 guilty pleas, and achieved 46 convictions.
• Defendants sentenced in fiscal year 2013 served an average of 52 months in prison.
• Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have banned 225,000 individuals and entities from billing Medicare between March 2011 and September 2013.

Attorney General Eric Holder states that, “With these extraordinary recoveries, and the record-high rate of return on investment we’ve achieved on our comprehensive health care fraud enforcement efforts, we’re sending a strong message to those who would take advantage of their fellow citizens, target vulnerable populations, and commit fraud on federal health care programs,” said Attorney General Eric Holder.

The return on investigation investment suggests that the federal government’s interest in investigating and prosecuting health care fraud and abuse is substantial. In short, health care compliance is more important than ever.

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John H. Fisher

Health Care Counsel
Ruder Ware, L.L.S.C.
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