IG Levinson’s Remarks at the 2017 Health Care Fraud Takedown Press Conference
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IG Levinson’s Remarks at the 2017 Health Care Fraud Takedown Press Conference


Thank you Mr. Secretary and thank you Mr.
Attorney General. And good morning. As you’ve heard today, today’s action
marks the nation’s largest criminal health care fraud takedown in history. This has been a massive operation requiring
the expertise and coordination of more than a thousand federal, state, and local law enforcement
personnel, including nearly 350 agents from our Office of Inspector General. I’d like to thank our OIG agents who have
worked so hard over many months to achieve this remarkable and unprecedented multi-agency
enforcement operation. I’d also like to thank our federal and state
partners who share our commitment to fight fraud in Medicare and Medicaid. In particular I am deeply grateful to the
30 state Medicaid Fraud Control Units who participated in the takedown. Coordinating our prevention, detection, and
enforcement efforts with our partners is crucial to our success in combatting healthcare fraud. And I do want to underscore the importance
of the health care fraud control units at the state level because in many cases, these
investigators who have worked many years in fields requiring great expertise and experience
are really unsung heroes. And it’s a rather complicated acronym—Medicaid
Fraud Control Units—to think about in an acronym heavy city, but we greatly appreciate,
and I know I speak for all of our criminal investigators, who work so hard to bring these
law enforcement actions to an effective close. I know I speak for our whole team when I express
my deep appreciation to nearly every state’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. 49 of the 50 states have one. And they play a critical part in insuring
the integrity of both federal and state funds distributed through state Medicaid programs. Together we apprehended individuals who are
suspected of defrauding vital health care programs out of more than $1 billion. This is reprehensible, as health care fraud
not only represents a theft from tax payers who fund these vital programs, but affects
the millions of Americans who rely on quality care in Medicare and Medicaid. In the worst fraud cases, greed overpowers
care, putting patients’ health at risk. OIG sees this all too often in fraud cases
involving the illegal prescribing and dispensing of opioids. This takedown included 120 individuals charged
with fraud relating to opioids and in addition to the charges announced today, OIG is issuing
exclusion notices to nearly 300 physicians, nurses, and other providers based on conduct
related to opioid diversion and abuse. These individuals will be prevented from billing
all, all federally funded health care programs. Later this morning, our office will post a
report regarding the questionable prescribing of opioids in Medicare’s prescription drug
program. Of note is that Medicare spent over $4 billion
in opioids in 2016. One in every 3 Medicare beneficiaries received
a prescription opioid. Over a half a million beneficiaries received
what is considered high amounts of opioids. And more than 400 prescribers had questionable
opioid prescribing patterns for beneficiaries at serious risk. Our OIG will continue to play a vital leadership
role in the Medicare Fraud Strike Force to track down those who abuse important federal
health care programs. We’re committed to holding accountable those
who threaten the integrity of all HHS programs and the health of every American who relies
on these programs. Thank you and I’d now like to turn our press
conference over to FBI acting director Andy McCabe.

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