The United States Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services have created an interagency team – the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (“HEAT”) – to increase both fraud detection and fraud prevention.
Significant to Delaware health care providers, HEAT will work with State Medicaid officials to conduct provider audits and monitor activities to detect fraudulent activities. HEAT has announced that it will use modern technology to complete in a matter of days analysis of electronic evidence that previously took months to analyze using traditional investigative tools.
Perhaps most significant among the announced HEAT initiatives is a new focus on using criminal prosecutions as a deterrent against health care fraud. Already, HEAT has announced filing criminal charges against 53 doctors for alleged fraud.
Additional HEAT initiatives include increasing compliance training for Medicare providers, improving communication between CMS and law enforcement, and focusing on suppliers of durable medical equipment. HEAT is also asking the public to get involved in the fight against fraud and has created a Web site (www.hhs.gov/stopmedicarefraud) and a tip line for reporting suspected fraud.
The joint announcement of the HEAT initiatives by Attorney General Holder and HHS Secretary Sebelius underscore the Obama administration’s commitment to health care fraud enforcement.