Our team of health care fraud defense attorneys includes a former Medicare attorney and a Medicaid fraud prosecutor. These attorneys have extensive experience handling both civil and criminal health care fraud cases, including false claims, kickbacks, fee-splitting, patient brokering and stark. Our team of attorneys defends providers and suppliers nationwide. Our clients include physicians, pharmacists, home health agencies, compound pharmacies, urgent care centers and behavioral health facilities who have been accused of health care fraud.
Health care fraud defense is an extremely complicated area of law. In contrast to other health law matters, they progress very quickly and carry significant penalties and fines. Often the key to a strong defense is one that is prepared as early as possible. Even the mention of health care fraud can trigger licensing investigations and Medicare and Medicaid audits. We work with health professionals to not only defend against health care fraud charges, but prepare them for investigations and audits. And though our health care fraud defense attorneys are qualified in multiple states, we have strategically placed our offices to better reach the bulk of our clients in Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, West Palm, and Miami Florida, as well as Troy and Detroit Michigan.
Health Care Fraud Investigations and Audits
In recent years, the federal government has teamed up with state and local government to aggressively identify and stop health care fraud. The investigators are often ruthless and use confidential informants, previous employees and others with potential inside information to assist in the investigation and prosecution. As a result, incidental errors or negligence are often identified as potential fraud. The Medicare/Medicaid billing manuals/procedures are not easy to understand and often coding errors and simple misunderstandings lead to adverse consequences. With significant increases in funding from the federal government for health care fraud audits, health professionals are often faced with intrusive investigations. These investigations and audits do not resolve themselves! The assistance of a health care fraud defense lawyer that understands CMS regulations and state and federal fraud and abuse laws should be retained at the earliest possible time to limit exposure and help ensure a positive outcome.
If you have been 1) arrested for health care fraud, 2) contacted by federal or state/local law enforcement, 3) contacted by a medical insurer raising questions of potential fraud, contact a defense attorney as soon as possible. The allegations are very serious and prosecutors will often try obtaining information from you before you have retained an attorney. Please don’t give authorities or the prosecutor information without first seeking counsel.
Examples of Health Care Fraud
Submitting false claims to CMS for payment
Billing for ghost patients
Billing for services not provided
Billing for equipment not provided
Billing for services of such low quality that they are virtually worthless
Billing unbundled services
Overutilization of certain medical procedures or services
Lack of medical necessity
Utilization of excluded providers
Making false statements on applications or contracts to participate Medicare or Medicaid program
Providing false or misleading information expected to influence a decision to discharge a patient
Violating Medicare assignment provisions or the physician agreement
Our goal is not only to resolve health care fraud charges and minimize penalties, but our goal is also to protect the provider’s professional license and practice. Unlike most criminal defense attorneys, our attorneys are also experienced with administrative sanctions and employment issues that result from these allegations. Health care fraud allegations can have a widespread effect on licensure, CMS eligibility, NPDB, staff privileges and credentialing. From the onset, we consider these issues when handling the civil and/or criminal health care fraud cases. Additionally, upon resolution of a case, our attorneys are able to handle the administrative and employment issues that may result from allegations and/or convictions.
Possible Sanctions for Health Care Fraud
Healthcare Fraud: up to 10 years. Up to 20 years if bodily injury
Conspiracy to Commit Healthcare Fraud and Fraud: up to 20 years
False Claims Act Convictions – up to 5 years per occurrence. Up to Life if convicted of multiple counts
Money Laundering: up to 10 years
Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering: up to 20 years
Wire Fraud: up to 20 years
Civil Monetary Penalties:
False Claims Act – up to $21,563 per claim and a fine three times the number of damages sustained by the government as a result. Fine up to $250,000 if knowingly
Anti-Kickback Statute – up to $50,000 per violation and a fine three times the amount of the kickback
Health Care Fraud – up to $250,000
Exclusion Statute – up to $10,000 per item claimed while excluded and a fine three times the amount claimed
Two physicians were charged with unlawfully prescribing suboxone while working at Redirections Treatment Advocates (RTA) in Wierton, WV. Based on our specific experience in defending addiction medicine providers and Suboxone, Ron Chapman II was asked to join the trial team on this case and other companion cases.
A physician utilizing the Michigan Automated Prescription System (“MAPS”) became concerned about the scores being displayed for some of his patients and wanted a compliance review of his practice to determine whether his treatment plans were compliance and to improve his practice in the event of a review.
More than 60 providers have been charged with health care fraud following the investigation of the Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid (ARPO) Strike Force. Allegations include trading drugs for cash, charging clients extra fees to receive these prescriptions, and even prescribing over social media.