DOJ Reveals Largest Crackdown on Healthcare Fraud in U.S. History
The Department of Justice revealed on Thursday that it had made the largest crackdown on health care fraud in U.S. history.
During a DOJ press conference, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Health Care Fraud Takedown charged 412 defendants, including 56 doctors, with defrauding taxpayers of about $1.3 billion after being discovered in an operation described by both Sessions and HHS Secretary Dr. Tom Price as the “largest opioid-related fraud takedown in American history.”
In a statement Sessions said:
Too many trusted medical professionals like doctors, nurses, and pharmacists have chosen to violate their oaths and put greed ahead of their patients. Amazingly, some have made their practices into multimillion dollar criminal enterprises. They seem oblivious to the disastrous consequences of their greed.
We are sending a clear message to criminals across the country: we will find you. We will bring you to justice. And, you will pay a very high price for what you have done.
While everyone should rejoice at that sentiment the problem is that it seems this operation was very widespread, as it included doctors from Michigan and Florida, and it was something that was going on for quite some time, given the amounts of money involved.
As reported by CBS news, due to the crackdown, 295 health care providers could now potentially be suspended or barred from participating in federal health programs.
120 of the 412 defendants were charged with crimes related to improper issuance and overprescribing of opioids, billing government health services for fraudulent claims, swapping prescriptions for money and illegally recruiting subscribers to medication.
Secretary Price followed Sessions comments with his own in which he praised President Trump’s budget proposal to increase funding to the Health Care Takedown, and extolled those who participated in this particular sting.
Thanks to the efforts, fewer criminals will be able to exploit our nation’s opioid crisis for their own gain.And this really epitomizes what the national takedown operation is all about.
Sessions and Price were joined at the conference by acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, DEA Director Chuck Rosenberg and HHS Inspector General Daniel Levinson, as the operation was a joint effort between the DOJ, HHS, and FBI.
The Justice Department said the people charged were illegally billing Medicare, Medicaid, and the health insurance program that serves members of the armed forces, retired service members and their families.
As wonderful as it is that those involved in this fraudulent scheme will be brought to justice, this event only serves to highlight the massive problems with fraud, and the ability of those engaged in it to go undetected for years, because of the size and scope of the federal healthcare programs.