The federal government recovered $2.5 billion from health care fraud judgments in the budget year that ended in September. That was a record-breaking amount and credit must go both to whistle-blowers and to a renewed effort from the Obama administration. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says the money recovered in cases under the False Claims Act will help to prevent fraud in 2011. She also credits the healthcare law passed last year are being a big help in that area for the coming year. Overall the government recovered $4 billion. That includes $1.5 billion in administrative findings. Thomas Perrelli, an associate attorney, had this to say:
Our aggressive pursuit of health care fraud has resulted in the largest recovery of taxpayer dollars in the history of the Justice Department.
The government said that whistle-blowers received about $300 million in 2010 after turning in fraud they observed in the workplace. It should be noted that the new health care law created one agency and expanded another to help recover stolen money. The actuary for Medicare expects the provisions of the new law to save an additional $4.9 billion in fraud and abuse during the next ten years. That money will be folded back into Medicare to help it remain solvent until at least 2027.
In 2011, the screening process for new Medicare providers and suppliers will be more strenuous. More than 19,000 businesses apply every month, but rules will prevent those that have a history of defrauding Medicare or state governments from providing services. Anybody who is caught cheating the government should be banned from government programs. More than half the money recovered came from pharmaceutical companies. For example, Novartis Pharmaceuticals paid $420 million after its owners pleaded guilty to the illegal marketing Trileptal, a medication approved for epilepsy, as a psychiatric and pain medication. It’s high time that cheating the government and committing massive frauds relating to government programs be stopped!
Source: USA Today
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