WASHINGTON – Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today kicked-off the first in a series of regional health care fraud prevention summits in Miami. The summit brought together a wide-array of federal, state and local partners, beneficiaries, providers and other interested parties to discuss innovative ways to eliminate fraud within the U.S. health care system.
“Despite all that’s been accomplished over the last year, we cannot yet be satisfied or become complacent. And we cannot ignore the fact that health care fraud remains a significant problem,” said Attorney General Holder. “Each of you can be part of this and other public education efforts. Each of you can help to ensure that our health reform achievements are not exploited.”
“The days of scamming dollars from our health care system are over,” said Secretary Sebelius. “Thanks to new tools contained in the Affordable Care Act, we are more prepared than ever to safeguard taxpayer dollars and ensure that the health care coverage of our seniors, families and children is secure. I’m proud of the tremendous success we’ve had so far, and look forward to continuing this important dialogue at fraud prevention summits across the country.”
The summit featured a training session for Miami-area seniors on how to detect suspected fraud in Medicare, including how to report fraud to 1-800-HHS-TIPS and at www.stopmedicarefraud.gov .
The summit also featured educational panels that discussed best practices for both providers and law enforcement in preventing health care fraud. The panels included law enforcement officials, consumer experts, providers and representatives of key government agencies.
The recently enacted Affordable Care Act provides additional tools and resources to fight fraud in the health care system by providing an additional $350 million over the next ten years through the Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control Account. In addition, the Affordable Care Act toughens sentencing for criminal activity, enhances screenings and enrollment requirements, encourages increased sharing of data across government, expands overpayment recovery efforts, and provides greater oversight of private insurance abuses. For information on the 2009 Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control Program Report, please visit www.justice.gov/dag/pubdoc/hcfacreport2009.pdf
Investments in anti-fraud detection and enforcement pay for themselves many times over, and the administration’s tough stance against fraud is already yielding results. I n FY 2009, anti-fraud efforts put $2.51 billion back in the Medicare Trust Fund, a $569 million, or 29 percent, increase over FY 2008, and over $441 million in federal Medicaid money was returned to the U.S. Treasury, a 28 percent increase from FY 2008.
The Affordable Care Act builds on innovative strategies to fight fraud, such as the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), the joint operation between the Department of Justice (DOJ) in partnership with their 94 U.S. Attorneys Offices, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the HHS Office of Inspector General that has unleashed special strike forces in seven regions to target health care fraud hot spots like South Florida, Los Angeles, Houston, Detroit, Brooklyn, N.Y., Baton Rouge, La., and Tampa, Fla.
On June 8, 2010, President Obama announced this nationwide series of regional fraud prevention summits as part of a multi-faceted effort to crack down on health care fraud. The Miami summit was the first in a series, with additional summits to follow in the coming months in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Detroit, Boston, New York and Philadelphia.