U.S. Attorney creates Health Care Crimes Task Force
WHEELING, WEST VIRGINIA –United States Attorney Bill Powell has announced the creation of the Health Care Crimes Task Force, an initiative to investigate and prosecute opioid diversion, health care fraud, and other illegal activities in the health care field.
“It is a priority of this office to prosecute those who use their professional license or health care business to cloak illegal activities. This task force will once again use the cooperative efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement to identify, investigate and prosecute those who engage in fraud, improper opioid distribution and other abuses of our health care system. The professional status of these individuals will not protect them from prosecution,” said Powell.
In 2016, the Department of Justice prosecuted 802 defendants for health care fraud-related crimes nationally, collecting more than $3.3. billion to be returned to the federal government and private individuals.
With West Virginia ranking highest in the country in regards to percentage of population enrolled in Medicaid benefits (31% of total population), and 23% of residents enrolled in Medicare, residents in the mountain state are particularly vulnerable to health care fraud-related crimes.
The task force is comprised of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of West Virginia, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the West Virginia Insurance Commission Fraud Unit, and the West Virginia Medicaid Fraud Unit.
To report suspected health care-related illegal activity to the task force, call 304-234-7711 or email usawvn.HCC@usdoj.gov.