The health care industry is the most heavily regulated one in the United States. Aside from defense, the federal government spends more money on health care than it does any other industry. The high dollar amounts coupled with nearly endless state and federal regulations leave many physicians vulnerable to criminal accusations.
Most doctors are good people who only want to help their patients. However, there are those who choose to take advantage of the system by defrauding others. Some may also make honest mistakes in billing that leaves them open to suspicion and subject to criminal prosecution.
Some patients will try to entrap their providers by asking them to provide a bill for services they have not rendered. It’s tempting for many physicians to become entangled in such a scheme and eventually face criminal allegations.
Because it spends so much money on health care, the government has an incentive to cut down on fraud. Accordingly, this has led to a spur in physician arrests over the past few years. In addition, so-called whistleblowers have caused agents to open investigations based upon their own false allegations of misconduct. Entire fields within the health care industry are sometimes scrutinized as well.
If you are a physician who is facing criminal allegations, you need an attorney who is familiar with health care crimes. Ideally, that lawyer will have someone on staff who has also worked in a clinic or hospital, and can spot inconsistencies in a case very quickly. Remember that health care fraud cases are not like any other fraud case, and require a unique perspective if you are to prevail in court.
There are often warning signs that indicate you may be the target of a health care fraud investigation. For example, a patient or employee may be contacted by an investigator. You may personally receive a call from a government agent who is asking you questions. Some doctors receive a demand letter from Medicare or a target letter from a U.S. Attorney letting them know that they are the subject of an investigation.
When investigations become heated, it could result in your bank accounts being frozen or the arrest of other professionals you have partnered with. You may also receive a search warrant for records or be approached personally by a government investigator.
Don’t wait until these things happen to seek legal counsel. Be aware of the signs that you are a target of an investigation so that you can take action accordingly. Contact us if you believe you are the subject of a health care fraud investigation, even if you have not been arrested. The sooner you contact us, the greater the odds are that we can preserve your innocence.
It is imperative to contact and retain the services of an experienced attorney if a physician or other medical professional is a victim of a criminal accusation. Your livelihood and freedom are both in jeopardy, which is why you should contact us right away to schedule a consultation.