We are lucky to have the commitment of those at OIG and its dedicated partners to prevent, investigate and arrest those who commit such [healthcare fraud] crimes. I’m happy to be here today standing alongside the attorney general and other members of the law enforcement community to applaud the excellent work done by public servants to protect our country.
As Prepared for Delivery
Good morning. It’s great to be here. Thank you, General Sessions, for hosting this event today, and thanks to all of you for being here.
In more than 70 offices across the nation, the 1,600-plus employees of the Office of the Inspector General from HHS work to protect programs that benefit the health and welfare of the American people. They’ve been at it for four decades.
Today, we have the honor of marking the largest healthcare fraud takedown day in Strike Force history. The men and women of HHS OIG collaborated with federal, state, tribal and local law enforcement partners for this incredible initiative. This is a significant accomplishment for the American people, and every public servant involved should be proud of their work.
Earlier this month, I had the honor of going on a ride-along with some of OIG’s law enforcement officers, and it was valuable to see their work in action, investigating and tracking serious criminals and arresting them for their crimes. In fact, the arrests they made that day contributed to the total of today’s takedown operation.
Getting out in the field made vivid how vulnerable our social safety net programs can be if we don’t remain vigilant. There are criminals out there setting up fake pharmacies, harvesting seniors’ Medicare information, and coming up with new ways every day to steal from program beneficiaries and the taxpayer.
These crimes have a significant impact on defenseless Americans. Medicare and Medicaid are not just pots of money where no one will miss a million dollars here or a million dollars there—they represent the hard work of generations that pay into the system and, often, depend on it to lead healthy lives. The victims of these fraud schemes are the American people, often senior citizens.
This is important work for the taxpayer, too. Every dollar we spend on OIG law enforcement returns four dollars back to the American people, and every dollar we recover from a lawbreaker helps provide healthcare to an American who needs it.
As the attorney general mentioned, criminals have increasingly targeted an area where HHS and the entire Trump administration are especially focused: our country’s crisis of opioid addiction.
They attack programs helping some of the most vulnerable, those struggling with addiction, because they know those are the ones that have the most goodwill.
For example, one of the alleged criminals charged today used his position at a recovery center to prescribe controlled substances without a license, while the center worked in tandem with other treatment centers to bilk those trying to enter recovery.
Beyond the opioid epidemic, a number of other cases involved alleged kickback schemes between providers to take advantage of Medicare beneficiaries. In one case, patient recruiters were allegedly paid in exchange for the referral of fraudulent prescriptions. These kinds of scams undercut the confidence and trust of the American people in the federal healthcare programs. The perpetrators really are despicable and greedy people.
We are lucky to have the commitment of those at OIG and its dedicated partners to prevent, investigate and arrest those who commit such crimes. I’m happy to be here today standing alongside the attorney general and other members of the law enforcement community to applaud the excellent work done by public servants to protect our country.
Our law enforcement officers at HHS OIG work every day to defend our country from criminals, while showing proper judgment, thoughtful strategy, and a dedication to the rule of law. I know President Trump is especially proud of the work done by law enforcement on these matters, protecting our seniors and preventing the diversion of prescription drugs.
Takedown Day is a great way to highlight how the finest in federal law enforcement go about their business and carry out their duties with unquestionable professionalism and character. I want again to give thanks to everyone involved in today’s success.
I’ll now hand it over to Inspector General Dan Levinson.