In the latest move to show how the Department of Justice (DOJ) is increasing its attention on healthcare, Joel R. Levin, acting U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, announced the Health Care Fraud Unit will focus on prosecuting criminal healthcare fraud violations.
The unit will investigate all types of healthcare fraud, which Levin said results in millions of dollars worth of losses in Medicare and private insurers.
The Health Care Fraud Unit will build upon successes of recent healthcare fraud prosecutions, said Levin.
The new Health Care Fraud Unit is the latest example of the DOJ’s focus on healthcare. Over the past 10 years, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force has charged more than 3,500 people for allegedly defrauding Medicare for more than $12.5 billion.
The unit will include five prosecutors to bring a greater focus and impact on healthcare fraud investigations.
The announcement of the new unit comes on the heels of the largest healthcare fraud enforcement action in history. The “national takedown” resulted in charges against 412 people for a total of $1.3 billion in false healthcare billing. Last summer, the DOJ charged more than 300 medical professionals for about $900 million in alleged fraudulent billing.
Kenneth Yeadon, partner at Hinshaw & Culbertson in Chicago, recently told Healthcare Dive that the DOJ is showing through these investigations and stings that healthcare fraud won’t be tolerated.