What are the penalties for Medicaid fraud in the state of Florida?
Doctors and other healthcare professionals are tasked with a heavy burden. Not only must physicians work hard daily to assist the ill and injured, but they must also deal with the many complexities of insurance and healthcare billing. At times, mistakes can happen to even the best of doctors. Nationally, healthcare fraud is considered a significant problem. Healthcare fraud is estimated to cost the country $68 billion per year, according to the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association. With prosecutors in Florida cracking down on instances of Medicaid and other healthcare fraud, doctor and other professionals will need to contact an experienced West Palm Beach healthcare fraud criminal defense lawyer for assistance defending against the charges they face.
Healthcare Fraud Defined
Healthcare fraud is a federal offense defined in Title 18, Section 1347 of the United States Code. Healthcare fraud is defined as the knowing and willful execution, or attempted execution, of a scheme to defraud any health care benefit program or secure, by false or fraudulent representations, any monies owned by a health care benefit program. Health care fraud encompasses several different specific crimes, as will be elaborated below.
The crime of healthcare fraud is a serious one. Those convicted of healthcare fraud could be sentenced to ten years or more in a federal prison. Should the scheme to defraud result in harm to a patient, penalties could double, while schemes that cause the death of a patient are punishable by life in prison.
Medicaid fraud has become one of the most commonly charged forms of healthcare fraud. Medicaid fraud can include billing Medicaid for services that were not actually provided to the patient or billing for and offering services to a Medicaid patient that were not actually medically necessary. Any of these actions could harm a Medicaid patient by preventing them from getting the care they need or subjecting them to unnecessary services. As such, a Medicaid charge could result in heightened penalties.
The Anti-Kickback statute makes it illegal to offer or accept any inducement to a doctor, hospital, or another medical provider to use a product or receive referrals. Kickbacks were made illegal because the government does not want doctors to be swayed by outside sources in providing care for patients. Violation of the anti-kickback laws often occur when doctors accept kickbacks to prescribe medications, order certain medical tests, or recommend certain medical devices. Contact a criminal defense lawyer for assistance with defending against these and any other healthcare fraud related charges.