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Florida docs see more False Claims Act action: part two

Last week we talked about how the Affordable Care Act has led to an increase in False Claims Act investigations brought against doctors and other health care professionals - both in Florida and across the country. An increase in federal funding for health care fraud prevention has put doctors under scrutiny of their billing, coding and referring practices.

While there is no way to guarantee that you and your practice escape FCA scrutiny, there are preventive measures you can take to try and minimize your chance of getting embroiled in a fraud investigation.

The best way is to prevent violations before they have a chance to occur. Building a strong compliance program can help. Familiarize yourself and your colleagues with compliance rules, both general and specific to your industry. It is always wise to have written policies in place that you can point to in order to demonstrate your commitment to compliance, as well as to know how to handle any violations.

A False Claims Act investigation may result in civil damages and fines, as well as criminal charges. Doctors may also face a lifetime of increased monitoring by the federal government. And even fraud allegations that turn out to be false can mean lost patients and a damaged reputation.

If you are facing charges of fraud or other white collar crime, or if you are the subject of a federal investigation, it is essential to act quickly to protect your rights and make sure you are represented every step of the way. Consider working with a qualified criminal defense attorney who can advise you of your rights in the criminal justice system and help you pursue the best possible result in your case.

Source: amednews.com, "Empowered by ACA, old fraud law puts new scrutiny on doctors," Alicia Gallegos; Feb. 25, 2013

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