Given the sheer size and scope of government health care programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, coupled with the progressively growing number of people relying upon their services, it is hardly unsurprising that health care fraud is an acute focus of federal and state law enforcement officials.
Fraud exists, to be sure, and sting efforts and other investigatory probes are constantly in play that seek to spotlight fraudulent conduct and punish wrongdoers.
Just as assuredly, though, is a reality underscoring the fact that many well-intentioned and honest people working in or otherwise connected to the health care field are being looked at by law enforcers, with some of those individuals occasionally becoming targets in criminal probes.
That is of course unfortunate, but it is also to be expected in an industry as mammoth and complex as health care.
An added impetus for law enforcement agents to probe for misconduct in the industry is that taxpayer money is so closely connected with the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Given that, it is a virtual certainty that health care fraud is a front-and-center agenda item for state and federal regulators in Florida and every other state.
One news article focusing on the topic of Medicare fraud and investigative efforts to uncover it recently cited, for example, a special fraud prevention program set up by the federal government, with assistance from state officials. That program, known by the acronym of HEAT, reaped more than $3 billion in civil judgments and other recoveries last year.
Such a laser focus on fraud virtually guarantees that a watchful eye is upon many health care participants, including doctors, facility administrators, health care equipment manufacturers, pharmacists, coding specialists, billing officers and other parties.
Those persons have legal rights and a reasonable expectation that their interests will be protected in any instance involving government scrutiny of their actions and professional behavior.
Health care providers facing fraud charges or being asked questions in connection with fraudulent activities can obtain prompt and knowledgeable advice from a proven criminal defense attorney, as well as aggressive legal representation.
Authorities have the right to prosecute fraud, but never at the expense of an individual's legal rights.