WASHINGTON (AP) - The government says it recovered $2.5 billion
in overpayments for the Medicare trust fund last year as the Obama
administration focused attention on fraud enforcement efforts in
the health care industry.
In a report, the Justice Department and the Health and Human
Services Department say their cooperative efforts are showing
results as they put investigative resources in areas where health
care fraud is especially widespread, including south Florida; Los
Angeles; Houston; Detroit; New York City's Brooklyn borough; Baton
Rouge, La.; and Tampa, Fla.
The result is a rising number of criminal prosecutions and the
return of more stolen money to the government. At the same time,
federal investigators are blocking unscrupulous companies from
getting into government health care programs in the first place.
For the fiscal year that ended last Sept. 30, the federal
government won or negotiated $1.63 billion in judgments and
settlements, and investigators opened 1,014 new criminal health
care fraud investigations involving 1,786 defendants.
Most of those figures are up from 2008, when the government won
or negotiated $1 billion in judgments and settlements, and
investigators opened 957 new criminal health care fraud
investigations involving 1,641 potential defendants.
In 2008, the recoveries for the Medicare Trust Fund totaled $1.9