Healthcare Defense Government Investigations Lawyers
Whether you are a physician who operates your own medical practice, an executive at a durable medical equipment company, or the director of a hospital, you never expect to find yourself and your organization under investigation by federal authorities. However, as the federal government has cracked down in recent years on healthcare fraud associated with Medicare, more individuals and healthcare organizations have found themselves coming face-to-face with investigators from the FBI, United States Attorney’s Office, and other federal agencies and offices. Even if you made honest mistakes that appear as if you were trying to commit fraud, this alone may not be enough to keep you from facing criminal charges. To get the best results and keep your career intact, rely on healthcare defense government investigations lawyers in these situations.
Federal Strike Force
Since it was first formed in 2007, the Federal Strike Force in charge of investigating and prosecuting those suspected of healthcare fraud have brought cases against more than 1,500 defendants who were alleged to have falsely billed Medicare for more than $5 billion in bogus charges. Composed of the FBI, U.S. Postal Service, and Office of the Inspector General, this group takes its job very seriously and will likely show up at a medical practice or other facility with search warrants and subpoenas. Unfortunately for those they target, the Strike Force is very good at its job. According to the latest statistics, medical clinics and durable medical equipment companies account for nearly 40 percent of all convictions, while hospitals are at about 20 percent.
Civil and Criminal Penalties
Once these investigation begin, you may be facing civil or criminal penalties, and in some cases both. Regardless of the charges levied against you, it is possible that if convicted you could be ordered to pay large fines, serve time in prison, repay any money you gained under false pretenses, and possibly even lose your medical license, accreditation, or your ability to participate in Medicare or other government-funded health programs. Should any of this happen, it will cripple your practice to the point of financial ruin. To make sure this does not occur, always hire healthcare defense government investigations lawyers immediately upon learning you are under investigation.
The Question of Cooperation
In many of these situations, those under investigation wrestle with the question of whether or not they should offer their full cooperation to investigators. While you may be required by law to cooperate with some government requests, that does not mean you and your staff should simply start talking to investigators and tell them anything and everything they want to know. Should you or your staff say certain things that are self-incriminating, these statements are virtually impossible to recant. While there is nothing wrong with being polite and courteous, you should still be very guarded about what you do and say when around investigators. Since it will take experienced legal guidance throughout this process to ensure you do not make critical mistakes, always listen to the recommendations of your healthcare defense government investigations lawyers.
When physicians come under investigation in these situations, they are very vulnerable on many fronts. One of the most common ways is through their involvement in joint ventures with those who are not physicians. These situations, which often happen when physicians are involved in partnerships with durable medical equipment companies, can link a physician to illegal activities for which they have no knowledge is taking place. However, so long as they are involved with a company by way of a contract or other legal agreement, they can face substantial liability. Whether it is alleged kickbacks have taken place or even that medical malpractice has occurred against a patient, never assume these charges will go away since you had no criminal intent. Instead, work hand-in-hand with your healthcare defense government investigations lawyers to plan a legal defense that result in you winning your case.
As the pace of government investigations steps up due to increased demand to reduce or eliminate healthcare fraud, chances are you may at some point be under investigation. Rather than not know what to do, discuss your circumstances in greater detail by consulting with healthcare defense government investigations lawyers.