DOJ and HHS Crackdown on Largest Ever Fraud Scheme
On 7/13/17, the Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the largest ever health care fraud enforcement action by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, linking 412 defendants for their alleged participation in health care fraud schemes involving approximately $1.3 billion in false billings.
The charges against doctors, nurses and pharmacists aggressively target schemes billing Medicare, Medicaid, and TRICARE (a health insurance program for members and veterans of the armed forces and their families) for medically unnecessary prescription drugs and compounded medications that often were never even purchased and/or distributed to beneficiaries.
The charges also involve individuals contributing to the opioid epidemic, with a particular focus on medical professionals involved in the unlawful distribution of opioids and other prescription narcotics, a particular focus for the Department.
The Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations are part of a joint initiative between the Department of Justice and HHS to focus their efforts to prevent and deter fraud and enforce current anti-fraud laws around the country. Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force has charged over 3500 defendants who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for over $12.5 billion.