FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                          AG
Wednesday, August 13, 1997                         (202) 616-2765
                                               TDD (202) 514-1888

   Department of Justice Releases Health Care Fraud Report for
   Fiscal 1995-96 Highlighting Added Resources and Efforts in
                Investigations and Prosecutions

     WASHINGTON -- The Department of Justice has significantly
increased the number of investigations and prosecutions of health
care fraud since Fiscal Year 1992, according to a new report
released by the Department today.
     The report highlights significant enforcement
accomplishments in both civil and criminal investigations,
prosecutions, convictions and monetary recoveries during Fiscal
Years 1995 and 1996.  Through increased resources, focussed
investigative strategies and better coordination among law
enforcement, the Department is working to fulfill Attorney
General Reno's commitment to make health care fraud one of its.
     According to the report, health care fraud investigations by
the Federal Bureau of Investigations more than tripled, from 657
in FY 1992 to 2,200 in FY 1996.  Criminal prosecutions also
increased from 83 cases and 116 defendants in FY 1992 to 246
cases and 450 defendants in FY 1996.  Convictions -- guilty pleas
and guilty verdicts -- rose from 90 defendants in FY 1992 to 307
in FY 1996.  Civil health care fraud efforts similarly increased. 
The number of civil health care fraud investigations handled by
the Department increased from 270 in FY 1992 to 2,488 in FY 1996.

     "In the last four years the Departments has made significant
progress against unscrupulous health care providers," said
Attorney General Janet Reno.  "But just as important, our efforts
are sending a message to those who would rip-off our health care
system that we have the know-how, we have the resources and we
have the will to come after you."

     The report also describes notable cases across the country,
including: the Boston conviction of a Fortune 500 company and
several executives for defrauding the Food Drug Administration in
connection with the sale and distribution of heart catheters
unapproved for human use; the Minneapolis conviction of a
nationwide provider of health care services for making improper
payments to induce doctors to refer patients; and the San Diego
conviction of a physician for performing unnecessary cataract
     It also details targeted investigations of fraudulent
practices in specific health care industries such as fraudulent
billing and unbundling by independent clinical laboratories;
fraudulent misrepresentations in connection with the Health Care
Financing Administration's (HCFA) Medicare contractor's
Contractor Performance Evaluation Program; and fraudulent billing
by hospitals.