United States: U.S. Departments Of Justice And Health And Human Services Issue FY 2014 Health Care Fraud And Abuse Control Program Report

Last week, the U.S. Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that the Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control (HCFAC) Program has recovered over $27.8 billion since its inception in 1996. In FY 2014 alone, with a collective budget of $571.7 million, HCFAC efforts recovered $3.3 billion from individuals and companies facing allegations of fraud related to health care. Jointly directed by the Attorney General and Secretary of HHS, HCFAC seeks to:

  • Coordinate federal, state and local law enforcement efforts relating to health care fraud and abuse with respect to health plans;
  • Conduct investigations, audits, inspections and evaluations relating to the delivery of and payment for health care in the United States;
  • Facilitate enforcement of all applicable remedies for such fraud; and
  • Provide education and guidance regarding compliance with current health care law.

Over the past three years, for each dollar spent on health care-related fraud and abuse investigations the government has recovered $7.70. In other words, HCFAC efforts since 2012 have given the United States a staggering 770 percent return on investment.

Utilizing a two-pronged approach to combat fraud and abuse, ushered in with new authorities granted by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the United States is increasingly implementing cross-departmental preventative measures to curtail health care fraud and abuse, and reduce "pay and chase" efforts initiated after payments are made on claims that are identified as potentially fraudulent. For example, the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT)—a program jointly initiated in 2009 by DOJ and HHS—now investigates cases using real-time data analysis to identify fraudulent claims before payments are made to the provider. This real-time analysis could replace lengthy subpoena, production and account assessment; correspondingly, investigators are moving much faster from fraud identification, to arrest and prosecution. The HEAT program is charged with the following:

  • Marshaling significant resources across government to prevent waste, fraud and abuse in the Medicare and Medicaid programs;
  • Reducing "skyrocketing" health care costs and improving the quality of care;
  • Highlighting best practices by providers and public sector employees; and
  • Building upon existing partnerships between DOJ and HHS, like HCFAC's Medicare Fraud Strike Force.

As a complement to the HEAT program's efforts on the civil side, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force program utilizes investigative and analytical resources from the HHS Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and DOJ's Criminal Division's Fraud Section. Initially launched as a pilot program in selection regions, Strike Forces now operates in nine geographic areas—Brooklyn, NY; Chicago, IL; Dallas, TX; Detroit, MI; Houston, TX; Los Angeles, CA; Miami, FL; Southern Louisiana; and Tampa, FL. Strike Force prosecutors have filed over 963 cases, obtained 1,443 guilty pleas and 191 jury trial convictions, and sent 1,197 defendants to an average imprisonment of 47 months. In FY 2014, DOJ opened 924 new criminal health care fraud investigations so this trend will continue in years to come.

DOJ Continues to Pursue False Claims Act Litigation to Combat Health Care Fraud

Armed with the False Claims Act (FCA), the United States has pursued criminal and civil investigations implicating nearly every facet of the health care industry, including:

HCFAC's efforts translated into $2.3 billion in settlements and judgments in FY 2014, generating a total of $15.2 billion in recoveries resulting from health care fraud allegations since January 2009.

HHS-OIG Coordinates with Medicare Strike Force and Other Enforcement Actions

With a FY 2014 budget of approximately $213 million, HHS-OIG investigations resulted in 867 criminal actions against individuals or entities and 529 civil actions, including FCA and unjust-enrichment lawsuits filed in Federal district court, civil monetary penalties settlements, and administrative recoveries resulting from provider self-disclosures. HHS-OIG also excluded 4,017 individuals and entities from Medicare, Medicaid and other federal programs in California, Louisiana, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas. Finally, HHS-OIG engaged in audits and evaluations to identify focus areas where there is a high incidence of questionable or improper conduct in Medicare and Medicaid. In FY 2014, HHS-OIG identified dozens of issues, including:

  • Beneficiaries not lawfully present in the United States;
  • Improper payments for evaluation and management (E&M) services;
  • Ambulatory surgical services payment differential in Medicare; and
  • Electronic Health Record fraud vulnerabilities.

CMS Continues to Promulgate Program Integrity Strategy for Medicare, Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program

In support of its strategic goal of improving program integrity for Federal health care programs, CMS is guided by four major principles—prevention, detection, transparency and accountability, and recovery. With just over $250 million in FY 2014 funding, CMS engaged extensively in each focus area.

In support of its prevention efforts, CMS utilized its ACA-established authority to enact moratoria on new home health and ambulance enrollments in fraud "hot spot" areas of the country. In FY 2014, the moratoria were focused on Broward County, FL and several counties in Michigan and Texas and were extended to ground ambulance suppliers in the Philadelphia area. CMS also utilized the following prevention tools:

CMS' detection efforts included strengthened program integrity activities in Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D. These efforts were complemented by marketing surveillance activities, including secret shopping and compliance actions.

The Secretary of HHS' key initiative to improve transparency and accountability, is the Healthcare Fraud Prevention Partnership, which works to bring together public and private, federal and state-level individuals, and organizations combatting health care fraud across all payers.

With regard to recovery efforts, CMS continued to use its authority to suspend payments to providers during investigations of "credible allegations of fraud" and may also suspend payments if "reliable information of an overpayment exists." Among several other efforts, CMS has also designated field offices in the HEAT cities of Brooklyn, Los Angeles and Miami to coordinate with law enforcement, facilitate data analysis and expedite suspension requests.

*****

This latest report from HCFAC re-emphasizes the continued and ever-growing threat to providers and other companies involved in the delivery of health care in the United States. As we first reported last month, DOJ and HHS will continue to obtain high returns on the United States' investment in prosecutorial resources, so the health care industry should prepare for increasingly innovative investigation and enforcement activity in the coming year.

READ THE FULL HCFAC REPORT

U.S. Departments Of Justice And Health And Human Services Issue FY 2014 Health Care Fraud And Abuse Control Program Report

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions