On December 4, 2020, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it is creating a False Claims Act Working Group to enhance the partnership between DOJ and the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) in combatting fraud and abuse. The purpose of the Working Group is to focus resources on identifying those who seek to defraud American taxpayers. HHS administers trillions of dollars in grants and other payments to public and private recipients annually. As the agency administering those funds, HHS is in a unique position to assist DOJ in identifying and evaluating potential fraud.

The Working Group is comprised of former DOJ False Claims Act and healthcare fraud prosecutors, former private attorneys for healthcare and life sciences companies, and HHS attorneys. In addition to identifying and referring fraudulent activity to DOJ and OIG, the Working Group will provide expertise on the complex legal framework of the numerous HHS funding programs. The Working Group will also provide targeted training to the attorneys and HHS program operators on HHS programs that are most susceptible to fraud and abuse.

"Fraud on the federal government is not a victimless crime. Every dollar that goes to fraudsters is a dollar not being used for the important work that HHS programs do for the American people, including to fight COVID-19," said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. "This working group strengthens our partnership with DOJ and OIG on using the False Claims Act to pursue bad actors and protect taxpayer funds. Ensuring that resources are focused on bad actors will deter would-be fraudsters and avoid burdening those working in good faith to comply with the law."

The HHS press release is here.

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