|June 12, 2017
Contact: Whitney Ray
Phone: (850) 245-0150
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General today awarded Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit its top award for fighting fraud. The HHS OIG selected Attorney General Bondi’s MFCU from 50 units nationwide for success fighting fraud and recovering hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars. The MFCU today received the Award of Excellence in Fighting Fraud, Waste, and Abuse at the 2017 Honor Awards Ceremony in Washington D.C.
“Since taking office my Medicaid Fraud Control Unit has recovered nearly $700 million in stolen Medicaid funds for Florida taxpayers, and I am honored that our office is being recognized nationally for the investigative and prosecutorial work we do daily to protect taxpayer money and ensure justice is served,” said Attorney General Bondi.
Attorney General Bondi’s MFCU, led by Director James Varnado, is also being recognized for great collaboration with HHS and other federal agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Last year, working with HHS, FBI, U.S. Department of Justice and additional federal and state law enforcement agencies, the MFCU helped execute the largest Medicare and Medicaid fraud takedown in United States history. As part of this coordinated takedown, the MFCU charged six individuals involved in schemes causing more than $17 million in fraudulent billings. In total, the joint investigation identified more than $200 million in fraud that resulted in more than 100 arrests in Florida.
The MFCU continues to work with federal partners to recover stolen Medicaid funds and prevent millions of dollars in potential future fraud. In 2011, HHS certified the Florida MFCU as the first unit in the country with the authority to conduct data mining to find and stop Medicaid fraud. Now, the Florida MFCU is one of only nine units in the country with OIG approval to data mine billing practices of Medicaid providers, such as hospitals, doctors and pharmacies.
A report released earlier this year, highlighted more than $165 million in total recoveries obtained by the Florida MFCU during the 2016 Fiscal Year, the second highest in the nation.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigates and prosecutes providers that intentionally defraud the state’s Medicaid program through fraudulent billing practices. Medicaid fraud essentially steals from Florida’s taxpayers. From Jan. 2011 to the present, Attorney General Bondi’s MFCU has obtained nearly $700 million in settlements and judgments. Additionally, the MFCU investigates allegations of patient abuse, neglect, and exploitation in facilities receiving payments under the Medicaid program.