America is facing a surge in the number of healthcare fraud cases ever since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.Healthcare professionals and doctors have even been committing this felony even before the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and the enactment of the Affordable Care Act. However, theoffense has grown to alarming proportions in recent years and isa major threat to the general public. Law enforcement agenciesare now taking extrememeasures to apprehendthe perpetrators ofhealthcare fraud.
John M. LeBlanc is a prominent lawyer from Los Angeles who specializes in national healthcare litigation. He is a partner at the eminent national healthcare litigation firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips. He explains the Covid-19 pandemic has been able to highlight many vulnerabilities in the current American healthcare system. Criminals continue to exploit these susceptibilities for their own nefarious ends. He further adds the sum of money these offenders launder via healthcare frauds totals to just over $100 billion. This amount is equivalent to over 35% of allthe illicit funds the perpetrators siphon annually.
The problem escalates in nations that have a poor socio-economic status
John LeBlanc of Manatt says, “This practice will undoubtedly worsen as vaccines are rollout in lower socio-economic countries and as talks of booster shots increase. Counterfeit vaccine cards are also a growing concern as hesitancy and further government mandates dominate the workforce and educational institutes, and adds, “As businesses make return-to-work plans and schools across the nation emerge from virtual learning programs, identifying and removing counterfeit medical supplies from hospitals and healthcare facilities is critical to properly and effectively reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases in these spaces.”
Prosecution and investigation of healthcare fraud in the USA accelerated
The government agencies that are engaged in the investigation and the prosecution of the above incidences of healthcare fraud include the efforts of the United States Department of Justice, US Customs and Border Protection, and the Department of Homeland Security. Besides the above, the DOJ’s International Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property Program coordinate with foreign counterparts to help in the rapid crackdowns on COVID-19 linked scams.
John LeBlanc of Manatt says most people throughout America hold healthcare professionals, especially doctors, in high esteem. They assume these medical specialists have high moral values, ethics, and integrity. After all, the primary responsibility of doctors is to save human life and cure sick individuals. However, recent police investigations into Covid-19 healthcare frauds in the country reveal a disturbing fact. Most of the perpetrators of this crime are doctors who have access to necessary resources and information within the healthcare system. It is easy for them to commit these offenses as they can get access to medical supplies data.
He says that as the nation continues to reside in this new age of the COVID-19 pandemic, it takes all the interested parties at the state, local, and federal levels to continue investigating and prosecuting COVID-19 healthcare-related fraud. Recipients of government funds that have been designed to curb the transmission of the virus should pay close attention to the laws and parameters linked to such funding.