Federal authorities said they recovered a record $4 billion in civil and criminal penalties for healthcare fraud in fiscal 2010—and that was without the new investigative tools in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that were unveiled Monday.
Feds report $4 billion in fraud penalties
In a joint news conference involving HHS, the CMS, the FBI and the associate U.S. attorney general, federal officials said the agencies recovered $4.02 billion in criminal fines, civil monetary penalties and restitution payments (PDF). Of that, $2.9 billion was deposited into the Medicare trust fund.
“The fraud (fighting) efforts more than pay for themselves. That means going after fraud is one of the best investments we can make,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said during the news conference Monday. “In the past, we didn’t always take these responsibilities as seriously as we should have, but that is changing.”
At the same event, CMS Administrator Donald Berwick and HHS Deputy Inspector General for Investigations Gerald Roy released new final regulations that empower inspectors to withhold Medicare funds (PDF) during an investigation based on a “credible allegation” of fraud. The new rules also place far more scrutiny on spending and licensing in high-fraud spending areas, and give government agencies more information-sharing capabilities.
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