Aggressive Legal Representation and Advice for Health Care Providers and Owners
Health care professionals working in the Dallas, Texas area have a higher than average risk of being investigated for violating federal health care law.
That’s because the government has identified Dallas as one of nine cities in the country where a disproportionately large number of Medicare beneficiaries and other health benefit recipients live.
Accordingly, the United States Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Health and Human Services (HHS) have jointly established a special investigative office in Dallas that is dedicated to cracking down on fraud, waste, and abuse involving Medicare and other health care programs. It is important to contact an experienced Dallas Health Care Fraud Defense Lawyer if you are facing an audit or investigation.
Dallas clinics, hospitals, pharmacies, and individual providers are at an increased risk of investigation for:
- Medicare fraud and billing errors
- False Claims Act violations
- Stark Law violations
- Kickbacks and bribes (Anti-kickback statute violations)
- Controlled Substances Act violations and DEA issues
- Tax violations
- And more
While the Dallas Medicare Fraud Strike Force is principally focused on the Medicare program, it is also part of the broader HEAT initiative (the Health Care Fraud and Prevention and Enforcement Action Team) and partners with numerous agencies at the state, local, and federal level, including:
- 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
- Local law enforcement
This means that any audit or inspection in Dallas can have quick and far-reaching implications. Regulatory reflexes across multiple agencies can affect licensing, the receipt of Medicare payments, the ability to treat certain patients, the ability to prescribe medications, and more.
Even more ominously, federal investigations like those carried out by the Dallas HEAT Strike Force can ? and often do ? lead to felony criminal charges in federal court.
If you are currently facing federal charges, or if you are under audit or investigation for potential health care fraud, your entire career is on the line, and possibly your freedom too. It is critical that you have an experienced and proven Dallas Health Care Fraud Defense Lawyer by your side.
You must take the matter seriously, and it is in your best interest to get strategic legal representation as soon as possible.
At Oberheiden, P.C., we fight for the rights of health care providers and business owners targeted by the Dallas HEAT Strike Force and other federal offices, including the DOJ, HHS, DEA, IRS, and FBI.
Our practice’s federal health care law focus that also has a multistate presence concentrates on health care fraud cases in the nine Strike Force cities, including Dallas. Our health care fraud defense team lawyers are former federal prosecutors ? they know how the other side works! And because we have a bird’s eye view into how prosecutors think, we are at a distinct advantage when working for you.
Please do not put your hard-earned reputation and career at risk by facing the federal government alone. Mistakes are too easy to make, and the government will act to undermine your best interests at every turn.
Get good advice on your side. Contact Oberheiden, P.C. and speak with an experienced and wining Dallas Health Care Fraud Defense Lawyer right away.
Examples of Health Care Fraud Takedowns in Dallas
- In 2012, the federal government charged 14 individuals in Dallas. This included two doctors and two registered nurses who were charged in several different health care fraud schemes totaling more than $103 billion ? in what agents said were false claims.
- In 2015, a federal indictment named three local health care companies in connection with allegedly billing Medicare for fake services in the Dallas area between 2009 and 2013. Also indicted in Dallas: two doctors, one registered nurse, and four other defendants.
- In 2016, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force announced the arrest of twelve individuals in Dallas and nearby cities in Texas. Charges were filed against five people for participating in an alleged conspiracy to commit health care fraud.
- In mid-October 2016, agents arrested a woman at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on suspicion that she and at least eleven other people in the Dallas area had schemed to defraud the government of more than $900 million.
- In 2017, a Fort Worth physician was sentenced to 17 years in prison for his involvement in a Dallas-based Medicare fraud scheme, a conspiracy conviction, and six additional criminal counts of health care fraud. He was also ordered to repay $34 million.
Federal Investigations in Dallas Can Go Too Far
Strike Force agents go to work every day in an effort to arrest, charge, and ultimately convict health care professionals in purported fraud schemes.
It goes without saying that real cases of true fraud are contemptible. But in too many of these instances, innocent people are targeted for minor, unintentional errors.
As is often the case when federal agents are given a big budget and a political mandate, investigators can become overaggressive. In an attempt to “crack down” on wrongdoers, they end up targeting innocent people who never imagined they would end up in federal court.
Common Billing Errors in Dallas
It’s easy to imagine that the people who are arrested and charged with federal health care fraud are hard-nosed conspirators, fully intent on stealing millions of dollars from taxpayers. Sometimes that’s true.
But in many cases, the defendants in these cases are people just like you ? employees, practitioners, or joint owners of a Dallas health care center that accidentally fail to cross a “t” or dot an “i.”
Health care regulations are labyrinthine. Keeping up is a challenge. Confusion is common. It’s hardly unusual that people might sometimes do things “the wrong way” without even realizing it.
Those are exactly the kinds of errors that agents consider “red flags” ? when in reality they are simply billing errors. A slip-up as simple as entering something incorrectly could be misinterpreted as:
- Phantom billing (i.e., billing for services that were not performed)
- Double billing for treatment services or medical equipment
- Inflating charges
- Billing for equipment that was never ordered
- Billing for services that Medicare does not cover as covered services
- Inefficient billing
- Upcoding for treatment, disorders, services, or equipment
- Certifying for medically unnecessary supplies (e.g., DME) or services (e.g., hospice care)
- Overusing certain services or equipment
- Providing (or accepting) kickbacks or bribes
Many alleged violations of the False Claims Act, Stark Law, and Anti-kickback statute are based on these everyday billing errors. It is imperative that you hire a seasoned and knowledgeable Dallas Health Care Fraud Defense Lawyer for your legal representation.
Potential Civil and Criminal Penalties
Health care fraud investigations are serious matters. The potential consequences include both civil and criminal penalties.
Civil penalties may include one or more of the following:
- Civil fines (Up to $11,000 for each false claim)
- Recoupment requests
- Immediate suspension of payments from CMS
- Non-payment of future claims
- Exclusion from federal health care programs in the future
- Treble damages
- Reimbursing the government for its attorney’s fees
As illustrated above, defendants in these cases are sometimes ordered to pay millions of dollars in civil penalties.
Criminal penalties, meanwhile, can include any of the following:
- 10 years in federal prison for each count of Medicare fraud
- 20 years in federal prison for each count of Medicare fraud if the fraud results in a patient’s serious bodily injury
- A life sentence in federal prison if the Medicare fraud results in the death of the patient
- Fines, which can add up to many thousands of dollars (in addition to the potential civil penalties)
Even if you avoid conviction, the mere specter of a criminal charge can taint your professional reputation for the rest of your life. You could lose your state licenses, DEA Certificate of Registration, hospital privileges, ability to accept Medicare payments, and more. An allegation can ruin a career.
How an Experienced Dallas Health Care Federal Law Defense Attorney Can Help
At Oberheiden, P.C., our?Dallas Health Care Fraud Defense Lawyers fight for the best possible outcome for every client and in every case. That means:
- Negotiating with agents and prosecutors early in the process
- Bringing investigations to a close quickly so as to minimize their impact on your business and reputation
- Avoiding suspension / revocation of state licenses, DEA registrations, etc.
- Advising you on how to comply with regulations and avoid future legal issues
- Getting charges dropped and bringing criminal cases to a close
In case after case, the experienced Dallas Health Care Fraud Defense Attorneys at Oberheiden, P.C. have taken on federal agencies and won.
Specifically, our experience includes defenses against the HHS, DOJ, OIG, U.S. Attorney’s Office, IRS, DEA, FBI, HEAT Strike Force, and more.
Whether you are facing an alleged violation of the False Claims Act, Stark Law, Anti-kickback statute, Controlled Substances Act (CSA), Internal Revenue Code, or any other federal law, we can help.
Our Dallas Health Care Fraud Defense Lawyers
Dr. Nick Oberheiden is an experienced attorney, author, and legal contributor to media outlets. He has significant experience on issues pertaining to federal health care law, including health care fraud, federal enforcement actions and the Medicare Fraud Strike Force (Dallas). He has successfully defended numerous individuals and corporate clients (including doctors and health care 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 Dallas’ 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 health care 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 health care providers and their organizations against enforcement actions brought on by the Dallas HEAT Strike Force and other federal offices.
Get Strategic Advice on Your Side. Contact Oberheiden, P.C. Today.
If you or your practice is currently facing an audit or investigation involving an alleged violation of federal health care law, you should take immediate action to protect your legal interests. Please contact Oberheiden, P.C. right away.
We are pleased to offer free consultations. To speak confidentially with a?Dallas Health Care Fraud Defense Lawyer, simply dial (888) 727-0472 or contact us online as soon as possible.