Knowing the warning signs and what to do if you suspect fraud is critical in combating healthcare fraud. Ileana Hernandez of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips Law Firm explains how everyday citizens can help combat healthcare fraud by speaking up when they see something that doesn’t seem right.
“Fraud and abuse is a problem in the healthcare industry and one that impacts all of us,” explains Hernandez. “The actions of a few can affect the many, so it’s important to be aware and vigilant against fraud, waste, and abuse. If we don’t speak up when we see something suspicious, we allow these practices to continue, and they may ultimately cost us all as consumers of healthcare.”
The fraud scheme that captures the most headlines these days is undoubtedly the opioid crisis. Everyone from lawyers, doctors, and pharmacists to everyday Americans has been accused of conspiracy to distribute and distribution of opioids. Hundreds of physicians and other medical professionals across the U.S. already face charges related to such crimes as prescribing unnecessary opioids and accepting payments in exchange for prescribing opioids to patients who didn’t need them. Some of the people charged have even been accused of billing insurance companies, Medicare, and Medicaid for drugs never purchased or distributed.
Whether you’re a doctor, pharmacist, or just someone who does your research before getting your prescriptions filled, you can contribute to the fight against healthcare fraud by:
Speaking up if something looks wrong or doesn’t add up
Whether it’s a doctor prescribing opioids at an alarmingly fast rate or unnecessary medical procedures being performed, knowing what to look for can help save lives.
Taking extra steps when considering where your prescriptions are filled
Doctors’ offices might be targets for robberies, so having your prescriptions filled elsewhere can help keep them safe.
Learning about the various tactics healthcare fraudsters use to scam people is an essential step in combatting it.
Knowing the warning signs of things that don’t seem right, including doctors who prescribe unnecessary opioids or others who might be running drug rings out of their offices, helps combat healthcare fraud.
Using your insurance wisely
This can help you avoid falling victim to healthcare fraud. By being cognizant of how you use your insurance, you could prevent scams.
“People are spending more on healthcare, so they want to make sure their dollars are well spent,” concludes Hernandez. “Knowing the warning signs and what to do if you suspect fraud is critical in combating healthcare fraud.”
Contacting Law Enforcement
If it appears that there has been a crime or that someone has committed fraud, don’t hesitate to report it. Law enforcement agencies exist to investigate such crimes and prosecute those responsible. Therefore, if you suspect fraud, report it to the proper authorities immediately.
Helping your community fight the opioid crisis
Whether holding a fundraising event for addiction treatment programs or attending one, doing what you can to raise awareness and help those fighting drug addiction is a great way to combat the opioid crisis.
“We must all do our part when it comes to combating healthcare fraud,” concludes Hernandez. “Knowing the warning signs and what to do if you suspect fraud is critical in combating healthcare fraud.