Earlier this month, Mintz Levin’s Hope Foster and Bridget Rohde hosted a webinar entitled “Health Care Enforcement in 2015: A Look Back on 2014 and Forecasting the Year Ahead.” A video recording of the webinar, along with an accompanying PDF, can be found below.
The webinar provides a detailed look back on the health care enforcement efforts of 2014, by focusing on three core areas:
- Criminal Prosecutions. The webinar addresses the high priority that DOJ officials are giving to their health care enforcement efforts, highlighted by U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch underscoring the importance and effectiveness of DOJ’s Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (“HEAT”) and the Medicare Fraud Strike Force (“Strike Force”). Hope and Bridget identify and discuss four notable characteristics of the 2014 Strike Force prosecutions: the geographic breadth of the prosecutions, the variety of the providers and medical professionals targeted, the types of charged crimes (including both fraud and financial crimes), and the wide-ranging penalties that have included stiff sentences and hefty fines. For example, the presenters discuss the case of ArthroCare Corporation, a medical device manufacturer, in which the DOJ was able to obtain 20 year and 10 year prison sentences against the CEO and CFO, respectively.
- Joint Civil and Criminal Matters. Hope and Bridget discuss notable criminal and civil resolutions, including a massive civil and criminal action against Endo Health Solutions, Inc., and its subsidiary Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (collectively, “Endo”). In response to criminal and civil allegations related to Endo's off-label promotion of its drug Lidoderm, Endo paid $193 million and entered into a corporate integrity agreement.
- Civil Enforcement. The webinar also focuses on the continued role of the False Claims Act as the government’s primary civil remedy, with recoveries totaling $2.3 billion in 2014. Also discussed is the extraordinary increase in the number of whistleblowers coming forward as qui tam relators.
After discussing the three areas above, the presenters provide insight into the likely trends of health care enforcement in 2015.