A new federal law enforcement strike force will take on Medicare fraud in New Jersey and the Philadelphia region.
The U.S. Attorney offices for the District of New Jersey and the Eastern District of Pennsylvania will lead the enforcement effort along with the FBI, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General, and Drug Enforcement Administration. The group is being called the Newark/Philadelphia Regional Medicare Fraud Strike Force.
Nationally, Medicare provides services to just under 60 million people, both over the age of 65 and disabled people of all ages. A federal estimate from 2017 puts overpayments and fraud in Medicare programs, including Medicare Advantage plans, at close to $60 billion.
“The devastation the opioid epidemic is inflicting on communities across the country and here in the Mid-Atlantic region is staggering – and health care fraud has played a role in feeding that epidemic,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney General Benczkowski. “It is estimated that each year tens of billions of dollars in American taxpayer money are lost to fraud, waste, abuse and improper payments. According to the CDC, in 2016, more than 40 percent of all U.S. opioid overdose deaths involved a prescription opioid. Our Medicare Fraud Strike Forces, which we have now expanded into Newark and Philadelphia, constitute one of our most important and effective means for containing these threats to the American people.”