It’s Time for HHS to Set an Example

“Setting an example is not the main means of influencing another, it is the only means.”

Albert Einstein

Holding individuals criminally responsible for their actions or the actions of their corporations in defrauding our government health plans has been more difficult than one would imagine. There was once a time where he who stole from the King could suffer consequences as grave as death. However, it seems as though these days the majority of corporations simply account for civil penalties as a cost of doing business.One man would like that to change.

As written by Julian Pecquet, “The top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee wants the federal government to explain why the conviction rate for Medicare fraud is largely flat despite the millions recently spent to beef it up.” The Democratic Congress appropriated $198 million in discretionary funds for Medicare fraud prevention last year on top of an $11 million increase in mandatory spending. However, the number of criminal convictions fell slightly that year (from 588 to 583), prompting Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) to demand some answers in a letter he sent to the heads of the Health and Human Services and Justice departments.In his letter, Sen. Grassley states, “The decline in criminal cases filed, the stagnant number of criminal defendants, and the low level of actual convictions raise serious questions about how Department of Justice and Health and Human Services are allocating resources to combat criminal health care fraud.”

I await the response of government officials.Unless a firm example is established, corporations will continue to defraud the healthcare system as a cost of doing business.