FBI Seeks More Funds For Health Care Fraud Investigation
The FBI is seeking more funding to combat health care fraud, Bloomberg News/Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. In 1996, Congress increased the FBI's funding for Medicaid and Medicare fraud investigations, and now the agency wants President Bush to include additional funds for similar investigations in his budget. During the last eight years, the number of FBI agents working on health care fraud investigations increased 300%, while the caseload grew 400%, according to Dennis Lormel, chief of the FBI's financial crimes section. Last year, health care fraud investigations led to 560 federal convictions and $290 million in fines and recovered payments. In addition, the agency reached settlements with HCA-The Healthcare Co. over its Medicare and Medicaid billing practices and Bayer AG over charges that the company inflated drug prices paid by Medicaid (Bloomberg News/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 2/23). In a presentation to the General Accounting Office, the FBI said that about 10% of health care spending, about $100 billion, is lost to health care fraud each year (AP/Florida Times-Union, 2/23). Lormel said, "We will continue to prioritize health care fraud as the No. 1 white-collar crime" (Bloomberg News/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 2/23).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.