Taxpayers Against Fraud, a public interest group that supports whistle-blowers, reported that the federal government had a record year for fraud recoveries from False Claims Act lawsuits in fiscal 2006, which ended Sept. 30. All told, False Claims Act lawsuits, the bulk of which related to healthcare, brought in some $3.1 billion for government coffers and whistle-blowers. That topped the previous record of $2.2 billion in fiscal 2003, the group said. Settlements reached in 2006 included $900 million from Tenet Healthcare Corp., $567 million from biotechnology firm Serono, $435 million from drugmaker Schering-Plough Corp., and $265 million from St. Barnabas Health Care System,West Orange, N.J.
Separately, the Justice Department issued its official report for healthcare fraud recoveries in fiscal 2005, reporting that federal agencies had garnered $1.47 billion from healthcare fraud judgments and settlements that year. The department is required to issue the report annually describing how it and other federal agencies, including HHS' inspector general's office and the FBI, spent some $240.5 million appropriated annually to fight healthcare fraud. All told, the federal healthcare fraud recovery program has collected $8.85 billion since its 1997 inception.