DALLAS (PRWEB) October 24, 2018
Oberheiden, P.C., a federal health care fraud defense law firm with a nationwide presence, has recently learned of a large-scale Medicaid fraud takedown targeting dental offices in Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and South Carolina. The firm’s attorneys routinely represent health care providers such as dentists in Medicaid and Medicare fraud investigations, and they are currently monitoring the federal government’s law enforcement efforts in these states for further developments.
According to a confidential source, on Thursday, October 18, 2018, federal authorities raided dental offices in Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and South Carolina following an investigation into fraudulent billing practices targeting Medicaid. The raid is just one of several high-profile takedowns orchestrated by federal authorities this year, and it reflects a continuation of the government’s ongoing efforts to aggressively combat fraud, waste, and abuse targeting health care benefit programs.
Many dental practices rely heavily on Medicaid to subsidize their income from patients who have private insurance. For patients who do not have and who cannot afford insurance, Medicaid helps ensure that they and their children can see a doctor on a regular basis. In fact, states are required to provide dental coverage for children who receive Medicaid assistance, though Medicaid coverage for dental health is optional at the state level for adults.
Due to widespread fraud targeting Medicaid and Medicare, dentists and other health care providers have faced enhanced government scrutiny in recent years. This scrutiny has come in the form of automated review of billing data by authorities such as the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ); audits conducted by “fee-for-service” contractors working with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS); and investigations conducted by the DOJ, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Office of Inspector General (OIG), and other federal agencies and task forces.
Raids such as the one conducted on October 18 can have severe consequences for those providers who suddenly find themselves in the federal government’s crosshairs. In many cases, it is possible to resolve allegations of Medicaid fraud confidentially during the investigative process. However, when a raid takes providers by surprise, the reputational harm is immediate, and criminal health care fraud charges will often soon follow. Prosecution for Medicaid fraud under statutes such as the False Claims Act can lead to hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in fines and years or decades of imprisonment; and, in these types of large-scale takedowns, providers will often face a litany of other criminal charges as well.
Dentists targeted in Medicaid fraud takedowns can also be at risk for losing their license to practice. Since disciplinary actions involve state licensing boards that follow different standards than federal district courts, dentists can be at risk for license suspension and revocation regardless of the outcome of their criminal case. As a result, in these types of scenarios it is critical for dental practitioners facing prosecution to seek experienced legal representation immediately.
Dentists who are facing federal investigations and criminal charges must do everything possible to protect themselves from the lifechanging consequences of a conviction. This starts with engaging an experienced defense team. Oberheiden, P.C.’s federal health care fraud defense lawyers have extensive experience representing dentists nationwide in Medicaid fraud matters, and they are available to represent dentists in Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, South Carolina, and nationwide. The firm can be reached by phone at (888) 519-4897 or online 24/7.
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