NHCAA Presents the Southern District of Florida Health Care Fraud Team With Its 2009 Excellence in Public Awareness Award

Thursday, November 19, 2009 General News
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Team of 46 Federal health care fraud prosecutors and investigators in the Southern District of Florida have brought attention and awareness to the scope and magnitude of the health care fraud problem through aggressive prosecutorial action and innovative investigative models.

Over 750 individuals charged; Hundreds of millions of health care dollars saved.

ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association (NHCAA) is pleased to announce that the Southern District of Florida Health Care Fraud Team--comprised of individuals representing the United States Attorney's Office, Southern District of Florida; the United States Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Division; and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, Miami Regional Office--is the recipient of the 2009 Excellence in Public Awareness Award.

Traditionally awarded to members of the media, the honor is this year bestowed upon a dedicated and tenacious team of government fraud fighters because their work has undeniably and significantly increased public awareness of the fraud problem in South Florida and throughout the nation. As a result of greater public awareness, the prosecution of health care fraud is becoming a national priority.

"This kind of coordination of effort is extraordinary, harnessing the considerable resources of our nation's most prominent law enforcement agencies for a singular purpose--rooting out health care fraud," said NHCAA Executive Director Louis Saccoccio. "NHCAA applauds this team of prosecutors and investigators for their dedication to safeguarding the American public against this serious problem."

Through numerous investigations and prosecutions involving over $2.5 billion in fraud committed against the Medicare program, a group of 46 special agents and Federal prosecutors working together has charged over 750 individuals with health care fraud and identified vulnerabilities in program areas highly susceptible to fraud that, when corrected, saved hundreds of millions of our nation's precious health care dollars. The results achieved by this concentrated and coordinated approach generated extensive press coverage, both locally and at a national level, bringing the problem of health care fraud to the forefront for all to see.

The team developed and employed a three-step process involving traditional long-term criminal investigative techniques; data analyses to identify fraud being committed in "real time;" and identifying assets for civil seizure. The successful model employed by the South Florida Team, which included a Medicare Fraud Strike Force, has been adopted across the country.

Earlier this year, Medicare Fraud Strike forces patterned after the Medicare Fraud Strike Force in Miami were established or expanded in United States Attorney's Offices in Los Angeles, Detroit, and Houston. Also, in May 2009, Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Attorney General Eric Holder, and FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, III, heralding the success of the health care fraud prosecutions in Miami, announced new and additional national health care fraud enforcement initiatives including the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT) and launched the Stop Medicare Fraud Website (www.stopmedicarefraud.gov).

As Attorney General Holder said in referring to the success in Miami, "We know these strike forces work."

For this exceptional and groundbreaking effort, NHCAA is proud to recognize the members of the Southern District of Florida Health Care Fraud Team for their outstanding contribution to the public awareness of health care fraud and its destructive impact on our health care system.

The National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association (NHCAA) - Established in 1985 by several private health insurers and federal and state government officials, NHCAA is the only national U.S. organization devoted exclusively to combating health care fraud. NHCAA's mission is to protect and serve the public interest by raising awareness and improving the detection, investigation, prosecution and prevention of health care fraud. Since its founding, NHCAA has remained a private-public partnership with its members comprising the nation's most prominent private health insurers as well as those Federal, state and local government law enforcement and regulatory agencies having jurisdiction over health care fraud. www.nhcaa.org

SOURCE National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association

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