Tuesday, July 14, 2015

OIG Announces New Litigation Team

Dianne De La Mare

During the recent American Health Lawyer Association (AHLA) Annual Meeting, HHS, Office of Inspector General (OIG) representatives announced the creation of an OIG litigation team that will focus specifically on civil monetary penalties and exclusion cases. Deputy Chief Robert Penezic will lead a team of 10-12 attorneys within the office of the OIG. The litigation team goals include:

1) holding individuals accountable;
2) enforcing the OIG’s industry guidance;
3) filling enforcement gaps; and
4) amplifying other OIG work.

The intent of the litigation team is to “complement” the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) enforcement activities, and indicates that OIG and DOJ will be coordinating more closely on the CMP and exclusion cases that OIG pursues. Dedicating and increasing attorney resources to CMP and exclusion cases demonstrates that the OIG is ready and motivated to grow its penalty and exclusion cases. If the OIG moves forward as intended, this development could change the dynamics involved with settling False Claims Act cases, examining compliance and ethics programs, and the importance of thoughtful and thorough due diligence review of physician arrangements.

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