On behalf of the entire Allegiant Experts team, we hope that you had an amazing Fourth of July! As we mentioned in last week’s blog, we all have so much to celebrate, as Americans. Here’s hoping your celebration of our nation’s birthday was your most joyous one yet. Of course, it’s back to work today. And, unfortunately, it appears as if there is another not-so-worth-celebrating milestone to announce.

Last week, the United States Department of Justice announced charges of no less than 601 people including 76 doctors for their roles in health care fraud schemes resulting in more than $2 billion in losses. The Justice Department lists the takedown as the largest health care fraud enforcement action in their history. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex M. Azar III made the announcement last Thursday.

The arrests have cracked down on the nation’s opioid epidemic.

As Nate Raymond of Reuters reports, several of the arrests have targeted those contributing to the nation’s opioid crisis. He notes that many of the accused were charged for their roles in prescribing and distributing addictive opioid painkillers. “According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the epidemic caused more than 42,000 deaths from opioid overdoses in the United States in 2016,” informs Raymond.

He goes on to point out that while opioid manufacturers like OxyContin maker, Purdue Pharma LP are being investigated, the cases stemming from the sweep did not focus on any wrongdoing by major corporations. The charges levied, last Thursday, were against medical professionals who have been contributing to the country’s opioid epidemic by participating in the unlawful distribution of prescription painkillers.

The accused come from all over the country.

Included among the accused is a Florida anesthesiologist who is believed to have run a “pill mill;” a Pennsylvania doctor who allegedly billed an insurer for illegally prescribed opioids; and a Texas pharmacy chain owner and two others who are charged with improperly filling orders for opioids that were sold to drug couriers.

“The Justice Department also announced other cases unrelated to opioids, including schemes to bill the government healthcare programs Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare as well as private insurers for medically unnecessary prescription drugs and compounded medications,” reports Raymond.

Health care fraud seems to be at an all-time high.

The U.S. Department of Justice further highlights the gravity of their announcement by pointing out how far-reaching health care fraud appears to be in our nation. With over 600 charges being laid, the crackdown signifies the depth of the corruption that exists in the American medical field.

“The number of medical professionals charged is particularly significant, because virtually every health care fraud scheme requires a corrupt medical professional to be involved in order for Medicare or Medicaid to pay the fraudulent claims,” reads the report, “Aggressively pursuing corrupt medical professionals not only has a deterrent effect on other medical professionals, but also ensures that their licenses can no longer be used to bilk the system.”

At a time when we are celebrating our nation’s birthday, the Justice Department announcement can be construed as a sour note in American history. Then again, it also serves as affirmation that much is being done to stop our nation’s fraudsters. And, for that, we applaud the announcement.

If you’re an attorney working a health care fraud case, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Allegiant Experts to find out how we can help you. Call us at 407-217-5831 or email us at info@allegiantexperts.com.