HHS clawed back $4.2B from healthcare fraud

The Obama Administration recovered more than $4.2 billion in the 2012 fiscal year from entities and individuals that attempted to defraud the Medicare and Medicaid programs, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services announced.

"This was a record-breaking year for the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services in our collaborative effort to crack down on healthcare fraud and protect valuable taxpayer dollars," Attorney General Eric Holder said yesterday in a statement.

The collection numbers were up slightly from fiscal 2011, when the feds collected $4.1 billion from suspected fraudsters.

And for ever dollar invested in investigating fraud over the past three years, the government recovered $7.90, according to Reuters. That is the highest three-year average since the fraud and abuse program launched in 1997.

Over the past four years, HHS said it has collected $14.9 billion, compared with the $6.7 billion in the prior four-year period. Altogether, more than $23 billion has been recovered.

HHS officials attribute the spike in recoveries to more sophisticated and coordinated fraud-fighting efforts, including the formation of the  Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), as well as more stringent provider verification guidelines.

To learn more:
- here's the HHS announcment
- read the Reuters article