A recent article by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar of the Associated Press reported that federal enforcement authorities have begun targeting individual corporate executives in alleged health care fraud cases across the country. Previously, only companies themselves were the subject of federal investigations and penalties for incidents of health care fraud. A company found to have committed health care fraud violations could simply negotiate a settlement and pay a fine.
The federal government has now shifted its target for enforcement, and authorities will now seek to hold individual company executives personally responsible for health care fraud committed under their watch.
Health care fraud is rampant across the United States, costing the federal government and American taxpayers billions of dollars each year. Federally funded health care programs like Medicare are severely crippled by acts of health care fraud. Federal enforcement authorities have become increasingly frustrated with repeat offenders, and have begun taking steps to hold individual executives who knew of or should have known about the fraud accountable.
Now, in addition to fines paid by a company, senior executives can face criminal charges, even if they were not directly involved in the scheme to defraud the government. Executives can be held accountable for instances of health care fraud merely if they were in such a position that they could have stopped the fraud had they known about it. Additionally, federal enforcement officials can ban an individual executive from doing business with any government health care programs in the future. This is essentially a career-ending sentence.
Health care providers or executives facing health care fraud charges should always seek the counsel of a qualified health care attorney. Return to our health law home page.