OIG Launches Compliance 101 Website

On March 5, 2005, the Office of the Inspector General ("OIG") launched its Compliance 101 website. The  website contains links to guidance and educational training materials for health care providers, practitioners and suppliers. The site contains segment-specific compliance guidance for nursing facilities, ambulance suppliers, physician practices, etc. Although the materials are from 1998-2008, the compliance program guidance is still relevant and details the high-risk areas for each health … [Read more...]

Medicare Fraud Strike Force in Texas

According to the Houston Chronicle, there's a federal Medicare fraud strike force on the loose in Texas. The article highlights a number of Houston-area clinics committing Medicare fraud. Medicare fraud in the U.S. last year totaled $2.35 billion. There were 575 health fraud criminal actions and 342 civil actions filed. The task force has reduced identification of Medicare fraud from months to days, thanks to improved technology. Justice Department spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz said, "There … [Read more...]

Private Lawsuits Under the False Claims Act

The recent decision in United States v. Regence Blue Cross (10th Cir 12/05/2006) illustrates the power of qui tam, or private, civil lawsuits under the False Claims Act (FCA). Under the FCA, an action can be commenced either by the United States itself, or as a “qui tam” action, by a private person acting “for the United States Government” against providers “in the name of the Government.” The false claim may take many forms: overcharging for a product, failing to perform a service, … [Read more...]

The False Claims Act–A Significant Hammer!

For an example of how whistleblowers and the False Claims Act interact, read this article, Home Health Care Industry Reels from Medicare Scandal. Whistleblowers can bring qui tam lawsuits against providers and benefit hugely. In this particular case, the whistleblower benefits as follows: The False Claims Act permits individuals to file qui tam lawsuits against companies that defraud the government. Liable companies pay as much as three times the government's losses plus penalties for … [Read more...]