On May 20, 2009, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Health and
Human Services (HHS) announced the creation of the Health Care Fraud Prevention
and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), a new interagency investigation and
enforcement team. The creation of HEAT signifies an increased focus by DOJ and
HHS on combating health care fraud.
HEAT, which will include senior officials from DOJ and HHS, will invest in
technology and data sharing measures and will also undertake several initiatives
designed to prevent Medicare fraud, including:
- Increased site visits to potential suppliers of
durable medical equipment to prevent imposters;
- Increased provider training on Medicare compliance;
- Improved data sharing to identify patterns that lead to
- Strengthened monitoring activities to ensure Medicare Part C (Medicare
Advantage plans) and D (prescription drug programs) compliance and
DOJ and HHS also announced an expansion to the operations of the existing
joint DOJ/HHS Medicare Strike Force, which fights fraud on a targeted local
The formation of HEAT comes amid a recent upward trend in health care
fraud-related investigations and prosecutions, and sends a strong message that
this area is a key priority for federal regulators and law enforcement under the
Government Investigations group has extensive experience in health care
related matters, ranging from the creation of compliance regimes to the defense
of federal criminal investigations. For more information about McGuireWoods'
capabilities and resources in this and other areas of health care fraud
compliance and criminal defense, please contact the authors.