Philly at front of push to reduce healthcare fraud

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services just posted a list of the 10 most-wanted health-care fugitives, complete with mug shots, on its website.

    The site is reflective of the national push launched by President Barack Obama to crack down on fraud in the health-care system, especially Medicare and Medicaid.


    The U.S. Attorney’s office in Philadelphia is at the forefront of that push. Nick DiGiulio, with the office of the Inspector General in Philadelphia, said the city was regarded as a leader in ferreting out health-care crime long before new resources and regulations were handed down recently.

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    “The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia has been a leader in the fight against health-care fraud and now even more so with all the emphasis being put on by the current administration,” DiGiulio said.

    The office was one of three across the country this fiscal year, along with Boston and San Francisco, to get extra funding for its health-care investigation efforts.

    Assistant U.S. Attorney John Pease, chief of the health-care fraud division in Philadelphia, said the office has long had a reputation of bringing big cases against large pharmaceutical companies. That reputation puts the city in the top three for money recovered in recent years, as it continues to attract new cases to the office.

    “Many whistle-blowers who go to attorneys look to Philadelphia as a place where they’ll bring these allegations … of national scope involving fraud in the health-care industry that we follow up on and pursue,” Pease said.

    The office is conducting webinars to teach other attorney’s offices across the country how to prosecute often-complex health-care fraud cases.

    Philadelphia will host a regional fraud-prevention summit organized by the Departments of Health and Human Services and  Justice this spring.

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