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Litigation: Federal Health Care Fraud Initiative

Under the Obama administration, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has sought and received increased funding to fight healthcare fraud, with a particular emphasis on Medicare fraud. In its 2012 budget request, the DOJ requested $283.4 million to fight healthcare fraud, amounting to a 22 percent increase from the funding Congress approved for 2011.

DOJ's focus on health care fraud has been apparent from the early days of the Obama administration. During 2009, the DOJ teamed up with the Health and Human Services Agency (HHS) to launch the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Teams (HEAT) initiative. As part of this initiative, the existing Medicare Fraud Strike Force (Strike Force), operating in two cities up until 2009, was increased to nine cities. The Strike Force is a multi-agency team of federal, state and local investigators who work together to combat Medicare fraud through the use of advanced data analysis techniques to identify high-billing levels in healthcare fraud hot spots. This helps the interagency teams to identify potential healthcare providers or suppliers for investigation. The Strike Forces are now operating out of Miami, Tampa Bay, Fla., Detroit, Brooklyn, N.Y., Chicago, Baton Rouge, La., Houston, Dallas and Los Angeles.

Patricia Pileggi

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