Why healthcare executives should take note of the DOJ's recent memo

A recent memo by the U.S. Department of Justice shows the government is taking a strong stance on pursuing healthcare executives involved in fraud allegations.

The memo, which was distributed to federal prosecutors Sept. 9, provides guidance on six key steps the DOJ is taking to strengthen its pursuit of individual corporate wrongdoing. One key change is that to be eligible for any cooperation credit, corporations must provide the DOJ "all relevant facts about the individuals involved in the corporate misconduct."

The DOJ went on to clarify the change by saying companies "must identify all individuals involved in or responsible for the misconduct at issue, regardless of their position, status or seniority and provide to the Department all facts relating to that misconduct" to be eligible for any credit for cooperation.

In the memo, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates also said both criminal and civil investigations should focus on individuals from the inception of the investigations.

Although the memo's guidance broadly applies to a variety of corporate crimes, the new practices it outlines could have an affect on executives involved in healthcare fraud.

Hospitals, health systems and other healthcare organizations regularly enter into agreements with the federal government to settle fraud allegations; however, executives are rarely prosecuted for the misconduct. By putting more emphasis on the individuals — rather than just the organizations — involved, the DOJ's new guidance could lead to more executives being held accountable for any part they play in fraud schemes.

More articles on healthcare law:

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15 indicted in $150M healthcare fraud scheme that allegedly involved a PA performing surgeries
Florida hospital district to pay $69.5M to settle Stark Law, False Clams Act allegations

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