BGD Partner J. Richard Kiefer Discusses Health Care Fraud Enforcement
BGD Partner J. Richard Kiefer and chair of the firm’s White Collar Practice Group discusses President Trump’s decision to increase the enforcement of laws involving health care fraud, contrary to election rhetoric, in the Indiana Lawyer. This decision to increase enforcement has been illustrated by President Trump’s budget proposal to Congress which included an additional $70 million for the Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control program in the Department of Health and Human Services, despite budget cut to the Department at large. Additionally, Kiefer writes “Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco told the American Bar Association’s National Institute on Health Care Fraud May 18 that health care fraud is a very high enforcement priority for the Department of Justice.”
Kiefer discusses one reason for this push is likely the fact that health care fraud criminal prosecutions and civil False Claims Act lawsuits produce enormous revenues; the federal government receives a significant return on its investment in these cases. In the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana alone, almost $8 million in fiscal year 2016 in criminal and civil actions was reportedly collected.
Additionally, two new Department of Justice mandates have impacted health care fraud under Trump’s administration. The first, now known as “the Yates Memo,” has directed federal prosecutors to hold corporate executives accountable for corporate crimes. The second “Sessions Memo,” mandates that federal prosecutors charge and pursue “the most serious, readily provable offense,” and directs federal prosecutors to recommend a sentence within the Sentencing Guidelines range. Kiefer emphasizes the role that these directives from the Department of Justice, coupled with possible budget increases, can play in significantly impacting the future of white collar criminal cases, including health care fraud.