HHS and the Justice Department have launched a new interagency task force to expand upon efforts to combat Medicare and Medicaid fraud. The Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team will be made up of stakeholders "at the highest levels in HHS and DOJ" who will build upon existing programs while investing in new resources and technology to prevent fraud, Attorney General Eric Holder announced.
"Most healthcare providers are honest people that want to follow the law, but when individual corporations cross the line and defraud the public, we will hold them accountable," said Holder, adding that Medicare and Medicaid lose tens of billions of dollars annually to fraud, waste and abuse.
Holder and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius also announced the expansion of Medicare "strike force" team operations to Detroit and Houston, areas where erratic billing practices have been detected. Strike force teams are currently operating in South Florida and Los Angeles. No estimates are available yet on how much these additional initiatives would save the federal government, Sebelius told reporters. What is known is "for every dollar we invest in anti-fraud actions, we save $1.55," she said.