The Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team ("HEAT")'s formation was announced today by US Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services ("HHS") Kathleen Sebelius. The purpose of HEAT is to assist in the crackdown on Medicare fraud. HEAT will be comprised of members of both the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services working together with increased resources and new tools combined to help restore financial stability to our Nation's Medicare and Medicaid systems.
It was also announced that similar teams with local bases, known as Medicare Fraud Strike Forces, which presently exist in southern Florida and Los Angeles, will begin operating in Detroit and Houston. The current teams have achieved considerable success in detecting and examining potentially fraudulent activity and recovering money from those found guilty. HEAT plans to use similar methods as the Medicare Fraud Strike Forces team to address fraud, as well as implement new procedures to prevent it. While the initial focus will be on suppliers of Durable Medical Equipment with home health agencies likely to follow, all providers who significantly rely upon Medicare and Medicaid funding located in these targeted geographic areas are well advised to review their practices for compliance with Medicare and Medicaid regulations and policies.
To read the complete news release, please visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website.