WILL HEALTH-CARE ANTI-FRAUD EFFORTS STAY THE SAME UNDER A SESSIONS-LED DOJ?

 

Presidential transitions can be a bit of a roller-coaster ride, with new Cabinet heads often reversing previous policies or creating new ones. However, when it comes to the fight against health-care fraud, the incoming Trump administration is likely to maintain the status quo, a number of former Department of Justice officials told me recently.

Initiatives against health-care fraud are generally supported by Republicans and Democrats, Gejaa Gobena, a health-care attorney with Hogan Lovells in Washington, told me. Gobena, a former deputy chief of the fraud section in the DOJ's criminal division, worked in the administrations of both George W. Bush and Barack Obama. He said he expects the commitment to fighting fraud will continue in the Trump administration.

However, Gobena said if the DOJ prioritizes other areas, such as national security, anti-fraud efforts could lose some resources. Gobena said he expects Sessions will evaluate the DOJ’s approach to health-care fraud and ensure that all resources are being used effectively.

I also spoke with Kirk Ogrosky, a health-care attorney with Arnold & Porter in Washington and former deputy chief of the DOJ’s fraud section, who told me no one wants to be seen as being soft on fraud. While Ogrosky said he expects anti-fraud efforts to be largely the same in a Sessions-led DOJ, he said funding issues could affect enforcement.

Recent funding provisions have expanded the number of agents and prosecutors working health-care fraud cases, and if those funds are cut, the level of enforcement would drop, Ogrosky said.

Gobena told me that recent funding increases for anti-fraud efforts have come through bipartisan spending bills, and he said any future funding increases or decreases will depend on the Trump administration’s views and its relationship with Congress.

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