Health Care Fraud Prevention Summit Takes On Detroit

On June 8, 2010, President Obama announced the onset of regional fraud prevention summits; a nationally comprehensive effort to fight health care fraud.  Since inception, five summits have been held across the nation in the cities of Miami, FL, Los Angeles, CA, Brooklyn, NY, Boston, MA, and most recently, Detroit, MI.  These summits are only part of the joint effort undertaken by the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services (“HHS”) to attack health care fraud across the nation.  Together, the two departments have joined forces to form the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action team (“HEAT”), which is a partnership between various subdivisions of the departments, including the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, the HHS Office of Inspector General, the FBI, and other federal, state and local law enforcement partners.

The recent Health Care Fraud Prevention Summit in Detroit consisted of statements from Attorney General Eric Holder and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, as well as three educational panels aimed at identifying best practices for providers, law enforcement, and beneficiaries in preventing health care fraud.  In Detroit alone, the efforts of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force has resulted in charges brought against 120 defendants since May of 2009.  The health care fraud schemes associated with these defendants cost taxpayers approximately $120 million.  63 of the 120 defendants have pleaded guilty thus far, and eight were convicted at trial.

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