Federal authorities announce massive health care fraud crackdown

If more evidence was needed to make the following even clearer than it already is, it came courtesy of the U.S. Department of Justice last Thursday.

To wit: If you are even remotely suspected of engaging in any activity linked with health care fraud, criminal investigators – likely well-financed and comprehensively staffed task forces – are closely scrutinizing you.

And chances are they already have been for some time.

In what a Reuters article terms a “fraud takedown,” the DOJ acted conclusively by bringing federal criminal charges against more than 600 individuals in widespread health care fraud prosecutions across the country.

Unsurprisingly, Texas was not excepted from the mass indictments. In fact, it was prominently cited in the Reuters piece, with a pharmacy owner and other individuals being charged with the unlawful filling of opioid prescriptions that ended up in the hands of drug couriers and dealers.

An ongoing federal focus on wrongdoing by large drug-making companies that officials say is fueling the nation’s opioid epidemic was not the pharmacy of the latest crackdown. Rather, last week’s announced sweep primarily targeted individuals within the system – especially doctors – who authorities say are catalysts centrally contributing to scores of thousands of deaths each year and billions in fraud-related losses to U.S. taxpayers.

A focal point of the sting was on identifying individuals engaged in prescribing irregularities, as well as on the widespread distribution of narcotics like OxyContin. An additional focus targeted false billing schemes that authorities say defraud Medicare and other health programs in a major way.