Healthcare fraud enforcement a priority for Department of Justice, official says

Fighting healthcare fraud is a priority for the Department of Justice under the leadership of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a department official said at a conference.

The American Bar Association hosted its annual Institute on Health Care Fraud in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, this week. Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the DOJ’s criminal division told the audience that Sessions has expressed to him personally his commitment to taking on healthcare fraud.

“The investigation and prosecution of healthcare fraud will continue; the department will be vigorous in its pursuit of those who violate the law in this area,” Blanco said.

Blanco highlighted two major areas for fraud prevention that the DOJ will be focusing on: opioid-related cases and Medicare Part D fraud. The DOJ’s Health Care Fraud Unit has posted Medicare Fraud Strike Forces in nine regions it determined to be “epicenters” of fraud. These groups deploy a cross-agency approach to fraud investigation and enforcement. Blanco said these teams deploy intensive data-mining tactics on investigations.

“We have the opportunity to halt schemes as they develop,” Blanco said. “This cutting-edge method has truly revolutionized how we investigate and prosecute health care fraud.”

The Trump administration also signaled a strong commitment to taking on fraud in its budget proposals, which, despite significant cuts to the Department of Health and Human Services and medical research programs, added $70 million to the Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control program (HCFAC).

RELATED: Amid deep cuts across HHS, Trump’s budget maintains focus on healthcare fraud enforcement

Just this week, the DOJ arrested four people in an insider trading scheme based on data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.