Experienced Federal Defense Lawyers for Baton Rouge and Southern Louisiana
The federal government keeps a tight grip and a peering eye on the healthcare industry. Tasked with keeping the public safe from fraud, waste, and abuse, federal law enforcement agencies closely scrutinize doctors, nurses, hospitals, and pharmacies.
Unfortunately, in their eagerness to take a tough stance against apparent fraud, government agents can go too far. Few professionals know this better than those working in healthcare particularly providers living in southern Louisiana.
Baton Rouge is one of nine cities in the United States where the federal government has established a permanent Medicare Fraud Strike Force. That makes southern Louisiana one of the most aggressively policed regions on all of American healthcare.
The Baton Rouge Medicare Fraud Strike Force is a joint effort by state, local, and national authorities. They investigate and crack down on any potential fraud in the city and throughout the state.
Unfortunately, while fraud is undoubtedly a problem in the healthcare system, overly zealous policing can lead to unfair finger pointing, hasty suspicion, excessive enforcement action, and trumped-up criminal charges.
These investigations and enforcement actions can have an absolutely devastating impact on their targets. Reputations are maligned. Licenses are lost. Practices are effectively shut down. Careers are functionally ruined.
The media attention alone can be overwhelming for those who are targeted in a Louisiana Medicare Fraud Strike Force case and in many cases, the suspects have not actually done anything wrong.
Going it alone, the resolution process can take many months or even years. And even if you are ultimately absolved of wrongdoing, much of the damage may already have been done.
The federal government and its state and local partners are extremely powerful, and they act with seemingly insurmountable authority. They have enormous budgets, substantial resources, and they are buoyed by a political momentum toward “cracking down on fraud.”
But if you are a doctor, pharmacist, health professional, or business person who is under investigation or accusation by the Baton Rouge Strike Force or any other federal agency you do not have to face the feds on your own.
Oberheiden, P.C. is a federal criminal defense law firm that focuses on healthcare fraud cases like yours. We fight tirelessly to defend doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and business professionals in the healthcare industry against federal charges and investigations. This includes taking a strong stand against the Baton Rouge Medicare Fraud Strike Force when it steps out of line, or aims its overaggressive crosshairs on your clinic.
We know how to make a difference here because we used to work for the federal government in healthcare fraud matters. The attorneys in our firm are former federal prosecutors who handled federal investigations and healthcare criminal cases, including suspected Medicare fraud.
Today, however, we leverage that experience for hardworking health professionals like you, because you deserve to have an aggressive ally on your side.
After all, the government will be extremely aggressive in taking action against you. We know that better than anyone. But we also know how effective a talented team of attorneys can be in protecting your interests and that is exactly our mission.
In every case, our goals at Oberheiden, P.C. are simple and straightforward:
- End any active investigations as quickly as possible
- Advise you on handling audits, raids, compliance issues, etc.
- Keep your business, state licenses, and federal registrations in good standing
- Protect your reputation at every turn
- Get any criminal charges dismissed as soon as possible
The federal government may be anxious to make an example of you and your clinic, but your rights and your career are more important than their eagerness to flex their enforcement muscles. Let us fight for fairness and justice in your case. Call the Baton Rouge healthcare federal law defense lawyers at Oberheiden, P.C. today.
What Is the Baton Rouge Medicare Fraud Strike Force?
The Medicare Fraud Strike Force dates back to 2007. That is when the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) came together to launch a joint investigative team dedicated to fighting fraud, waste, and abuse in healthcare.
Today, the team has just nine offices located across the country, each in a different city or region:
- Baton Rouge, LA (including southern Louisiana)
- Houston, TX (including southern Texas)
- Dallas, TX
- Miami, FL
- Tampa, FL (including the Tampa Bay region)
- Detroit, MI
- Chicago, IL
- Brooklyn, New York City, NY
- Los Angeles, CA
Because the Strike Force combines state, federal, and local resources, it is able to take swift and robust action against people and businesses suspected of potential fraud.
In many cases, suspects feel the sting of the Strike Force almost immediately long before any wrongdoing has been conclusively established, and certainly before the government meets its burden of proof.
While the Medicare Fraud Strike Force is technically a national unit, much of its focus is on the nine cities where it operates. Indeed, most of the Force’s takedowns originate in those nine cities, including Baton Rouge.
It makes sense, then, that healthcare workers in southern Louisiana are concerned about the looming threat of federal entanglement, even if they haven’t done anything wrong. You’ve probably heard stories about the federal government making something out of nothing and that’s a pattern we see unfold far too often.
Take Healthcare Fraud Audits and Investigations Seriously
There are several different national and local agencies that work directly with the Baton Rouge Medicare Fraud Strike Force. These include:
- Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- Office of the Inspector General (OIG)
- U.S. Attorney’s Office
- The HHS and DOJ
- State and local law enforcement agencies
As you can see, the team has considerable resources at its immediate disposal. These resources include high-level data collection and analysis in the Baton Rouge office, which is constantly looking for red flags it might take action on.
If you are a doctor or healthcare professional (or business owner in the field), you should take any interaction with the Strike Force extremely seriously. This includes any audit, investigation, or even a seemingly innocent conversation with a federal agent. Making a simple mistake could trigger a tidal wave of enforcement action.
An experienced federal healthcare law defense attorney can help you steer clear of potential pitfalls.
Examples of Healthcare Fraud Cases in Baton Rouge
Baton Rouge didn’t have its own federal Strike Force office until 2009, when it was one of three cities announced for the agency’s first expansion. In the years that followed, we have already seen the agency taking aggressive action in south Louisiana. For example:
- In 2012, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force executed the largest takedown effort in its history, arresting more than 100 people across the country, most of them in the nine Strike Force cities. Seven of those charged were in Baton Rouge. In the southern Louisiana cases, the federal government went after more than $24 million in restitution for allegedly fraudulent billing activity.
- In 2013, the Strike Force arrested 11 residents of New Orleans and Baton Rouge for $81 million in fraud involving community and home health services.
- In 2015, the Strike Force announced charges against 11 New Orleans residents in connection with five different schemes totaling over $100 million in allegedly fraudulent Medicare billing.
These are only a few examples, and they serve as powerful reminders of the agency’s willingness to take action against healthcare professionals and practices across Baton Rouge and southern Louisiana.
Meet Our Team of Healthcare Federal Law Defense Attorneys
Dr. Nick Oberheiden is an experienced attorney, author, and legal contributor to media outlets. He has significant experience on issues pertaining to federal healthcare law, including healthcare fraud, federal enforcement actions and the Medicare Fraud Strike Force (Baton Rouge). He has successfully defended numerous individuals and corporate clients (including doctors and healthcare practices) against federal criminal charges and regulatory enforcement actions. Dr. Oberheiden holds a PhD in law, a Juris Doctorate from the UCLA School of Law, and has been trained in negotiation at Harvard Law School.
Lynette S. Byrd defends both individual and corporate clients who are accused of federal crimes or under investigation by state / federal agencies, including by the Baton Rouge Medicare Fraud Strike Force. Ms. Byrd is a former federal prosecutor, and she served for several years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas. While representing the federal government, she worked on a number of high-profile cases, including one of the largest healthcare fraud cases in her district, and collected millions of dollars for the government on behalf of taxpayers. Today, she puts her experience as a former prosecutor to work for healthcare providers and their organizations against enforcement actions brought on by the Baton Rouge Strice Force and other federal offices.
Call the Baton Rouge Healthcare Federal Law Defense Attorneys at Oberheiden, P.C.
While Medicare fraud is a pressing concern in Baton Rouge because of the local Strike Force and the unusually high number of Medicare beneficiaries in southern Louisiana, healthcare providers should be advised that the federal government takes all forms of healthcare fraud seriously. This might also include cases involving Medicaid, private insurance, records involving controlled substances, and any other kinds of healthcare waste, fraud, or abuse.
The government will pursue your case aggressively. Get an aggressive team of defense lawyers on your side.
We offer free, confidential consultations. To speak with a federal healthcare law defense attorney about your investigation or criminal inquiry, please call Oberheiden, P.C. at (888) 727-0472 or contact us online today.