Busted!

Federal government cracks down on healthcare fraud; recovers more than $4 billion taxpayer dollars

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Federal government healthcare fraud-prevention efforts recovered a record $4 billion in taxpayer dollars for Fiscal Year 2010, according to a new report.

In all, some 140 indictments we handed down against 284 defendants who, combined, wrongly billed Medicare more than $590 million. A total of 217 guilty pleas have been negotiated and 19 jury trials have been litigated, resulting in 146 defendants sentenced to serve an average of more than 40 months incarceration time.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) teamed with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to recover the funds, the highest amount ever recorded from those attempting to defraud senior citizens and taxpayers.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recently announced that new rules within the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) will make it more difficult for scammers as the Department works proactively to prevent and combat fraud, waste and abuses in Medicare, Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

The recaptured funds are the direct result of the Health Care Fraud Prevention & Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), created in 2009 to crack down on fraud perpetrators.

Sebelius said previously too many fraud prevention efforts chased after taxpayer dollars after they were paid out. She added that thanks to the Affordable Care Act, "we can focus on stopping fraud before it happens."

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
January 25, 2011
Last Updated:
January 25, 2011