The federal government had its best year yet for healthcare fraud collections in 2002, winning or negotiating more than $1.8 billion in judgments, settlements and administrative penalties and collecting $1.6 billion of that amount. Some $1.4 billion of that was returned to the Medicare Trust Fund, the largest amount since the federal government launched its Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control program in 1997. The Justice Department filed 361 criminal indictments and HHS' inspector general's office filed 221 civil actions in 2002, according to a joint annual report by the agencies. In addition to the judgments and settlements, the inspector general's office collected $150.2 million in improper payments, issued 20 advisory opinions and excluded 3,448 individuals or organizations from participating in federal healthcare programs, the report said. Between 1997 and 2002, the fraud and abuse program collected $4.3 billion in healthcare fraud recoveries and returned $4.1 billion to the Medicare Trust Fund. -- by Mark Taylor
Healthcare fraud recoveries hit $1.6 billion in 2002
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