Fraud & Abuse
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have a multitude of resources to detect and protect against fraud and abuse in claims. Particularly, CMS has at least six types of contractors that provide different roles in the prevention, detection, and reporting of fraud and abuse in healthcare. This list includes Recovery Auditors, which serve to reduce fraud and abuse by detecting and collecting overpayments from entities and Comprehensive Error Rate Testing (CERT) Contractors, which determine rates of improper payments by reviewing claims under Medicare Fee-For-Service (FFS). Another auditor that providers should be particularly mindful of are the Zone Program Integrity Contractors (ZPICs). This article is an overview ZPICS, its role in Medicare, and outlines the steps providers should take when faced with an audit by ZPICs.
One month after the largest health care fraud enforcement action was taken, the Assistant Attorney General, Brian A. Benczkowski, of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, announced the addition of the Newark/Philadelphia Regional Medicare Strike Force. The newly added 11th Medicare Strike Force will largely focus on healthcare fraud that is contributing to the opioid epidemic.
Finance Director for UnitedHealth Group brought qui tam suit against UnitedHealth Group, Inc. alleging that the organization upcoded risk adjustment data resulting in increased payments (more than $1.14 billion) to UnitedHealth Group. The Department of Justice (DOJ) intervened in the case, yet UnitedHealth Group was successful in getting the primary False Claims Act Claims dismissed by arguing that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) would not have refused to make the adjustment payments had they known of the errors in the risk adjustment. The Escobar materiality standard helps clarify threshold level of risk to Managed Care Providers in attesting to their risk adjustment payments; the falsities must have had an impact on the respective payment.
One of the most difficult things many of us will experience in our lifetime is the death of a loved one. Whether unexpected or a drawn out farewell, it is a situation no one can be full prepared to handle. In this moment of extreme vulnerability, most people begin the process of planning a funeral. Society has placed an incredible amount of faith in funeral directors to make sure the wishes of our loved ones are met and insure a memorable service for the living. However, this is not always the case.
On August 30, 2017, Trump signed Proclamation 9632 declaring September 2017 as National Preparedness Month, encouraging “all Americans… take action to be prepared for disaster or emergency by making and practicing their plans,” also citing that fewer than half of American families report having an emergency response plan. While it is important to have a disaster plan in place for your family to take care of their physical needs, it is also vital to be prepared for the possibility of scams and fraudulent activity in the wake of a natural disaster such as Hurricane Harvey.
This summer I had the opportunity to intern with the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (OIG) in Washington, DC. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with OIG, and I learned a great deal about health care fraud, waste, and abuse. In spending my summer with OIG, I had a glimpse into the powerful regulatory bodies that protect the health care market from abuse. As I move forward with my career in regulatory work, I will take with me the invaluable experiences and skills from my internship.
The United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) recently intervened in a qui tam action against UnitedHealth Group (“United”) and its subsidiary, UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement, the nation’s largest provider of Medicare Advantage (“MA”) Plans. The suit alleges that United engaged in an “up-coding” scheme to receive higher payments than they should have under MA’s risk adjustment program. Assuming these allegations of United’s false claims are true, then United billed and received hundreds of millions of dollars in improper payments from Medicare.
Kaitlin Lavin Executive Editor Loyola University Chicago School of Law, JD 2017 In January, Baxter Healthcare Corporation (“Baxter”) agreed to pay $18,158 million after the Department of Justice (DOJ) brought suit for violating the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FCDA) and the False Claims Act (FCA). The Baxter case is unique because it was …
Lauren Rushing Associate Editor Loyola University Chicago School of Law, J.D. 2018 In the span of one week, two financial services companies paid penalty fees to the Securities and Exchange Commission for intentionally undercutting the Whistleblower Program. Impeding whistleblower communication is averse to quashing misconduct in the marketplace, which is the program’s main goal. …
Anais Holland-Rudd Associate Editor Loyola University Chicago School of Law, JD 2018 Niurka Fernandez, 54, and her son Roberto Alvarez, 26, both plead guilty on August 31, 2016 to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. On November 10th, Fernandez was sentenced to 120 months in prison while Alvarez was sentenced to …