Experienced Defense Attorneys Defending Medical Professionals Charged with Medicare Fraud
The world of Medicare and medical professionals can be complicated, with very few people understanding exactly what the process looks like. When errors happen, or mistakes are made, investigations can quickly snowball into hundreds of dollars – to billions – as well as hundreds of lives being changed throughout the process. This is exactly what happened recently, in what is being referred to as the largest ever health care fraud enforcement action to have occurred to date.
Investigation Leads to 412 Defendants
So how does a Medicare investigation lead to more than 400 defendants? The number of medical professionals required to defend themselves in this case is shocking. Secretary Tom Price, M.D. announced that the Medicare Fraud Strike Force had launched the largest health care fraud enforcement actions to ever take place. It resulted in 412 defendants being charged with more than $1 billion in false billings.
Who are the Defendants?
In Medicare fraud investigations, the people involved are typically medical professionals. Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and anyone else who might be connected to a health care facility. Because there is such a wide net cast during these investigations, people who aren’t at all responsible are often at risk of being charged.
Although the recent case by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force has estimated a fraud scheme involving over a billion dollars in false billings, there’s a good chance that some (or all) of the 412 defendants might not have been involved. The defendants in this case include 115 doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals across at least 30 states.
Consequences of Medicare Fraud Charges
The charges that defendants face in Medicare fraud vary according to specific circumstances.
Without proper legal representation, these defendants risk:
- Losing their jobs
- Losing their ability to work in their chosen career field ever again
- The possibility of thousands of dollars in penalties and fees
- Prison time
In this particular case, each of the 412 defendants could be charged with a maximum penalty of 5 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine per instance of false billing.
How to Protect Yourself
In this case, the defendants have been charged based on the investigation, tips from people in the communities, and computer software used to identify outliers. These types of resources aren’t always reliable – not even computer software is 100% mistake-proof. It’s for this reason that if you work in the medical profession in any capacity, and you’ve been charged with a crime, you need to protect yourself.
You can protect yourself from fraud charges by:
- Following all procedures exactly
- Documenting your actions
- Speaking up if you see something wrong
However, the best way to protect yourself from losing your career, going to prison, or facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines, is to make sure you have a legal team on your side with experience defending clients against Medicare fraud charges.
Our Team of Health Care Fraud Litigators
Dr. Nick Oberheiden is the founder and principal of Oberheiden, P.C., and a foremost authority on health care fraud defense. He has won cases arguing against the Department of Justice, the Office of Inspector General, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In response to the stringent government crackdowns, and the aggressive approach of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, he has built the health care fraud defense team at the firm to represent those charged.
Lynette S. Byrd specializes in health care fraud defense, including Medicare Fraud and Anti-Kickback investigations. As an Assistant United States Attorney, she prosecuted a number of health care fraud cases with the Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Internal Revenue Service. She has a deep understanding of how these agencies work, and the types of defenses that have sway in trial.
Experienced Medicare Fraud Defense Attorneys
Cases like this can be devastating for anyone involved. It’s safe to say that not every one of the defendants will deserve to suffer the maximum penalties that come with these very serious charges. It’s crucial that if you find yourself in this situation, you have an experienced Medicare lawyer on your side who can represent your best interests.
At Oberheiden, P.C., our lawyers have the experience and knowledge you need in the unfortunate event that you are charged with Medicare fraud. To find out how you can protect yourself against serious Medicare fraud charges, contact our attorneys at Oberheiden, P.C. For a free and confidential consultation, call (888) 727-5159 or complete our online contact form today.
Dr. Nick Oberheiden has successfully represented healthcare executives and physicians – as well as businesses in the areas of toxicology, pharmacy, home health and hospice centers, DME, hospitals, surgery centers, neuro-monitoring, and blood and DNA testing centers – in healthcare compliance and defense.