Prosecutions for healthcare fraud increase by 85 percent since 2010

Health Insurance NewsRecently released federal statistics have shown that national healthcare fraud prosecutions have increased by 85 percent since the end of 2010, partially as a result to stepped-up efforts to enforce fraud laws under the Obama administration.

The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), a non-partisan group, released the statistics which show that there have been 903 prosecutions in 2011 so far. That number is 24 percent higher than the total for all of 2010, when there were 731 healthcare fraud prosecutions through various federal agencies nationwide.

Furthermore, TRAC statistics have shown that when compared to the prosecutions five years ago, there has been an increase of 71 percent.

Co-director of TRAC, David Burnham, said that the number of prosecutions was relatively dramatic. TRAC is a Syracuse University research organization that provides requests for government data through the Freedom of Information Act and then makes reports based on the statistics they obtain.

Officials from the Justice Department have stated that the reported increases mirror their own observations when they look broadly at healthcare fraud. This is partially due to a few large busts in 2011, but is also the result of several private sector fraud cases.

Though she was not able to provide confirmation for the precise numbers, Justice spokesperson Alisa Finelli said that “The trend certainly looks accurate and on track with our data.” She spoke of an example that occurred in February which prosecuted 111 individuals. This was the largest Medicare Fraud Task Force take-down in history. In that particular case, executives, doctors, and nurses were all accused of sending false bills worth over $225 million to Medicare.

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