Our healthcare criminal lawyers’ in-depth knowledge of addiction medicine allowed our physician client to have the best possible chance at acquittal.
Because our Detroit healthcare fraud defense attorneys have achieved frequent dismissals and acquittals on behalf of clients charged with federal healthcare fraud, such as Medicare, Medicaid, and TriCare.
Detroit has one of the highest rates of federal healthcare fraud indictments in the country — so much so that in 2010 the Department of Justice created a special “strike force” to prosecute healthcare fraud in the Detroit area.
But our Detroit healthcare attorneys have been battling the Detroit Medicare Fraud Strike Force for several years, so our healthcare clients get the kind of Medicare fraud defense no one else can offer. We have keen insight into the feds’ and the strike force’s tactics. We can detect their weaknesses. And we know how to get results for our clients facing healthcare fraud indictments.
As part of our service to you, even before you contact us, we want to help make sense of what healthcare fraud is all about, how investigations take place, and the paths cases can go.
Healthcare fraud — including Medicare fraud, Medicaid fraud, and TriCare fraud — has been the main target of federal prosecutors in recent years. Defending healthcare fraud charges requires an attorney with highly specialized knowledge of this complex area of law — as healthcare fraud statutes and safe harbor provisions are complex and ever-changing.
Because of the government’s emphasis on prosecuting healthcare fraud cases, it has been pushing the envelope in charging decisions resulting in weaker charges, with less evidence, that are more defensible for an attorney with medical and healthcare knowledge.
Unfortunately for those facing healthcare fraud charges, this fact has resulted in more cases proceeding to costly trials.
However, a skilled healthcare defense attorney with a focused approach to the case can drastically save the time and money necessary to defend healthcare fraud charges.
And that is where Chapman Law Group comes in.
Our White-Collar Defense and Government Investigations practice group is led by a former federal prosecutor and staffed with attorneys who exclusively defend healthcare fraud cases.
Many of our attorneys have earned advanced degrees in healthcare law from Loyola University Chicago School of Law — the top school in the U.S. for health care law.
No other national law firms — let alone firms in Detroit — that handle criminal law matters have this level of dedication to one particular practice field.
Healthcare fraud is simply making a false claim to a healthcare benefit program. These programs include Medicare, Medicaid, TriCare, and insurance carriers such as Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Healthcare fraud can be committed by anyone who bills or causes a bill to be submitted to a healthcare entity. This definition is very broad, and it does not require that someone actually submit a bill to a health benefit program.
In order to be convicted of healthcare fraud, the government must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant:
Many attorneys who do not specialize in healthcare fraud are unaware that violations of billing requirements, such as local coverage determinations (LCDs) or national coverage determinations (NCDs), are insufficient, alone, to satisfy this requirement.
Despite this fact, the government and the Department of Justice (DOJ) Healthcare Fraud Strike Force continuously charge healthcare providers with healthcare fraud charges for differences of opinion related to the practice of medicine or pharmacy. These include:
Healthcare fraud is predominately prosecuted by the federal government and the DOJ Healthcare Fraud Strike Force. The following laws are utilized by the federal government to prosecute healthcare fraud:
Typically, a healthcare fraud indictment, which is the document that charges healthcare fraud, contains a charge of healthcare fraud conspiracy along with several individual executions of healthcare fraud. The indictment may also contain a money laundering charge in addition to a forfeiture charge.
The government charges healthcare fraud conspiracy because the federal conspiracy rules are extremely relaxed; they only require that the government prove an agreement to commit healthcare fraud and an act in furtherance of the scheme.
The government also makes attempts to seize a significant amount of assets of those charged with healthcare fraud, chiefly to prevent the defendant from using allegedly unlawful proceeds to defend healthcare fraud charges.
Healthcare fraud is investigated by the following agencies:
Typically, healthcare fraud is initially investigated using data. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and HHS review statistical data generated from Medicare and Medicaid bills to look for outliers.
If you believe your practice is an outlier, contact us at Chapman Law Group to begin your defense immediately, as quick action and a compliance plan may prevent indictment.
Once the OIG or CMS finds an outlier, it typically conducts an audit and, in severe cases, may immediately refer a case for criminal prosecution.
During an audit, HHS will obtain billing records and request medical records. An initial audit may require review of only a few files, often called a probe audit.
If fraud is suspected after an audit, the case will be referred for investigation and prosecution. When the case is referred, federal law enforcement agents will begin investigating the billing data and interviewing witnesses in order to prepare a case.
Once the case is prepared, an attorney from a local U.S. Attorney’s Office or the Healthcare Fraud Strike Force will prepare an indictment and take a case to a grand jury. If the grand jury returns an indictment, the subject of that indictment will be charged with healthcare fraud and will be required to defend that indictment in court.
When a healthcare professional is indicted for healthcare fraud, the government has probably completed a thorough investigation.
A great defense to healthcare fraud requires early intervention at the earliest possible stage. If an indictment has not been issued, a thorough investigation and compliance plan may remedy the issue before indictment.
If an indictment has been issued, counsel must work quickly to analyze insurance claims, patient records, witness statements, and the government investigation.
At Chapman Law Group, our attorneys defend healthcare fraud charges by first reviewing the medicine in order to make the case that the claim was properly billed or, at the very least, not billed with the intent to defraud. Such a defense requires expert testimony from a certified biller and a health professional of the same profession, to testify that the medical decision-making was not fraudulent.
If the argument cannot be made that the medical decision-making is defensible, we review the Medicare bills to argue that the amount of the fraud (called the loss amount) was so low that it is not evidence of a scheme.
If a trial is necessary, it is imperative that expert testimony is presented to assert that the claims were not fraudulent. It also is vital that certain motions and objections are made that would restrict the government’s evidence in order to improve your chances of a successful outcome.
The initiation of healthcare fraud charges begins with the unsealing of a federal indictment. An indictment is issued by a grand jury and is then kept sealed until the prosecutor is prepared to arrest and process all defendants.
Once the indictment is unsealed, all defendants will either be arrested by federal agents, or their attorneys will be notified of the need to “walk in” for arraignment.
This is one reason why it’s imperative to contact a Detroit healthcare fraud defense lawyer who is familiar with the prosecutor. We may be able to prevent arrest on the indictment and request that you “walk in” for initial appearance without the embarrassment that an arrest from your home or work will cause.
Here are the general steps during the progression of a healthcare fraud case:
If you believe you are going to be indicted for healthcare fraud or have been indicted, we strongly urge you to contact us today. A Detroit Medicare fraud lawyer from Chapman Law Group will explain the entire indictment and trial process so that you can be informed during what we know to be a troubling experience for you.
The consequences of a healthcare fraud felony conviction can last longer than just a term of incarceration, so it is important to weigh all your options before accepting any plea deal or deciding to go to trial. A plea to accept a felony charge for healthcare fraud or Medicare fraud should not be based solely on the potential jail time
At Chapman Law Group, our Detroit healthcare fraud defense attorneys understand the magnitude of these ramifications on a healthcare professional’s career, and we work to minimize the fallout.
In addition to a possible prison term (many healthcare fraud crimes carry a potential maximum 10- or 20-year prison sentence), a conviction may result in:
Federal sentences are created using the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. If someone is convicted of healthcare fraud, the sentence is almost exclusively determined by the fraud loss amount to the entity billed — generally the value of claims billed.
As a result of the Affordable Care Act, the number of claims billed to a healthcare program is considered prima facie evidence of the loss amount. In the event of conviction and in order to achieve a lower sentence, it is imperative that defense counsel challenge the notion that the number of claims billed is the amount of the loss to the government.
Every healthcare provider knows that Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance companies do not actually pay the amount billed. Usually it is some lesser amount.
Under no circumstances should someone facing healthcare fraud charges accept the government’s recitation of the loss amount. The government’s loss number is generally inflated and created using poor methodology.
But a well-skilled healthcare fraud defense counsel will know other strategies useful for determining a lower loss amount, such as claim sampling and extrapolation.
This is precisely why you need a dedicated Detroit health care fraud defense lawyer to defend your Medicare or Medicaid fraud case.
This is why you need Chapman Law Group.
Because our Detroit healthcare fraud defense lawyers have been battling these federal Medicare fraud strike forces for several years, so our healthcare clients get the kind of Medicare fraud defense no one else can offer.
We have keen insight into the feds’ and the strike force’s tactics. We can detect their weaknesses. And we know how to get results for our clients facing healthcare fraud indictments. Our Detroit healthcare fraud defense attorneys have a reputation in winning many cases by dismissal or not-guilty verdicts at trial.
We also know that fighting a case through trial places a heavy burden — emotionally and financially — on a family. And one of the critical differences between the Chapman Law Group and other criminal law firms is our focus on preventing an arrest and charges from being filed.
We actively investigate allegations and start building a defense for our clients before the case ever goes to court.
Many times, we can convince the government not to file charges, contending that our client committed no crime. In other instances, we are able to resolve a case through a diversion agreement, which results in a case dismissal. And in some situations, we can settle a case through a civil agreement and payment of a fine.
Even in situations where criminal charges are filed, we are often able to get a result that would substantially reduce the potential jail time and other penalties.
And, moving forward, we can help you develop a stronger, more effective compliance program for your practice, so as to avoid accusations of healthcare fraud and be prepared if the government decides to conduct an audit.
Very few law firms in the U.S., if any, can make these claims and back them up with our results.
For 35 years, the Detroit health care fraud defense lawyers at Chapman Law Group have aggressively defended licensed healthcare professionals on criminal matters — from the internal investigation right up through trial.
We handle multistate federal criminal matters investigated by the DOJ; state felony matters; and, where criminal sanctions are possible, investigations commenced by the HHS, FBI, DEA, FDA, and DOJ.
We have honed our expertise in defending providers against healthcare fraud charges by obtaining pretrial dismissals, not-guilty verdicts, and beneficial plea agreements in federal courts across the U.S.
Our clients include practitioners in cities, counties, and communities all across Michigan — Detroit, Ann Arbor, Dearborn, Grand Rapids, Troy, Lansing, Flint, Saginaw, Midland, Muskegon, Bay City, and Kalamazoo, as well as Oakland County, Wayne County, Macomb County, Washtenaw County, Genesee County, and St. Clair County.
Contact us today to learn more about what an experienced, reputable Detroit health care fraud attorney can do for you, and how we are ready to help you with the best healthcare fraud defense.
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For physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare providers, turning to local general criminal lawyers is a mistake for a criminal matter that could lead to loss of license. A Michigan dentist was fortunate enough to not go that route.
Our client, a home health business manager convicted of $2 million in healthcare fraud, was able to serve just three months of his 36-month sentence, arguing for “compassionate release” due to his age and health condition.
Federal jails are filled with doctors who, when facing healthcare fraud charges, were pressured into taking plea agreements that they did not fully comprehend and now regret. Don’t let that happen to you.
Healthcare providers accused of healthcare fraud or improper opioid prescribing can’t afford to overlook these signals when selecting an attorney.