DOJ Announces Plan to Improve Forensic Practitioners’ “Professional Responsibility”

Washington, D.C.-  The Department of Justie announces new steps to improve “professional responsibility” among forensics practitioners.

 The DOJ announcement:

Justice Department Announces New Steps to Advance and Strengthen Forensic Science

Changes Include New Code of Professional Responsibility for Practice of Forensic Science

The Department of Justice announced new steps today as part of its ongoing commitment to strengthening and advancing forensic science.  The department will implement a number of steps that will promote professional responsibility among forensics practitioners, institute best practices and advance the relationship between the academic research of forensic science and implementation in the field.

“Today’s announcement marks yet another step forward in the department’s efforts to strengthen the practice of forensic science in our nation’s laboratories and courtrooms,” said Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates.  “We are continually looking at ways to ensure that forensic evidence is collected, analyzed and presented in a responsible and scientifically rigorous manner.”

The new policies include adopting a new code of professional responsibility that builds upon existing policies and accreditation requirements for departmental forensic examiners and laboratories. The department believes the code will improve education and guidance on professional responsibility while establishing a process for identifying and addressing violations of professional conduct.

Department forensic laboratories will also review their policies and procedures to ensure that forensic examiners are not using the expressions “reasonable scientific certainty” or “reasonable (forensic discipline) certainty” in their reports or testimony.  Department prosecutors will also abstain from using these expressions when presenting forensic reports or questioning forensic experts in court unless required by a judge or applicable law.  This decision complements the department’s efforts, announced earlier this year, to provide better guidance to forensic examiners and federal prosecutors on how to properly characterize the strength of forensic evidence in the courtroom.

The department also announced policies to implement greater transparency and access to forensic laboratory quality assurance documents and a plan to explore a grant funding of multiyear post-doctoral fellowships at federal, state and local forensic science service providers and forensic medicine service providers.

The new policies arose out of recommendations made by the National Commission of Forensic Science, which was established to advance the field of forensic science and make suggestions to the Attorney General on how to ensure that reliable and scientifically valid evidence is used when solving crimes.  The Attorney General’s decision to implement several of the commission’s recommendations was announced at a meeting of the commission today.  A memo was also sent to all department component heads directing the implementation of the recommendations.  Additional information on the department’s ongoing work to strengthen forensic science can be found at www.justice.gov/forensics.

 

GeyerGorey LLP 

GeyerGorey LLP is experienced in working with clients to successfully resolve the toughest, most complicated white collar criminal investigations, including FCPA, frauds including grant fraud and procurement fraud, and competition matters including antitrust and anti-dumping cases. Our partners all have over 20 years of senior level experience with the US Department of Justice and deep expertise in the field of federal white collar crimes. We know how the government’s enforcement agencies think and what they look for in these types of investigations. We use these insights to help our clients mount an effective and efficient defense that specifically addresses any red flags that federal agents look for when conducting an investigation. If your organization is under investigation, or you are concerned that an investigation may be launched, GeyerGorey LLP may be the right firm for you. Call Now +1 (888) 293-0644

Two Medicare Companies to Forfeit Total of $12 Million to Settle False Claim Allegations

Cinnaminson, NJ- Two medical equipment companies and their brother-CEOs will forfeit a grand total of $12 million to settle False Claims allegations. Both companies, U.S. Healthcare Supply LLC and Oxford Diabetic Supply Inc., made unrequested phone calls to Medicare beneficiaries , seeking to sell them unnecessary medical equipment.

The DOJ post on the matter:

Diabetic Medical Equipment Companies to Pay More Than $12 Million to Resolve False Claims Act Allegations

U.S. Healthcare Supply LLC and Oxford Diabetic Supply Inc. and the two owners and presidents of those companies have agreed to pay the United States more than $12.2 million to resolve allegations that they violated the federal False Claims Act by using a fictitious entity to make unsolicited telephone calls to Medicare beneficiaries in order to sell them durable medical equipment, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.  U.S. Healthcare Supply LLC, based in Milford, New Jersey, has agreed to pay more than $5 million, and Jon P. Letko, its owner and president, has agreed to pay more than $1 million.  His brother, Edward J. Letko, the owner and president of Oxford Diabetic Supply Inc., a medical equipment supplier that allegedly also participated in the scheme, has agreed to pay $6 million plus interest.

“We will continue to hold health care providers accountable for attempting to circumvent Medicare statutes and regulations that help prevent the submission of claims for medically unnecessary services and supplies,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.  “Arrangements which clearly disregard program requirements in order to enhance the financial interests of health care providers will not be tolerated.”

“Cold-calling people to sell them expensive medical equipment is prohibited for a reason: unsuspecting patients shouldn’t be coerced into making medical decisions about devices and equipment – which they may not even need – on the basis of a sales pitch,” said U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman for the District of New Jersey.

The settlement announced today resolves allegations that U.S. Healthcare Supply LLC and Oxford Diabetic Supply Inc. set up and controlled an entity called Diabetic Experts Inc., which they used to make unsolicited telephone calls to Medicare beneficiaries in order to sell them durable medical equipment.  The companies submitted claims to Medicare for the equipment that they sold based on these unsolicited calls.  This conduct violated the Medicare Anti-Solicitation Statute.

This settlement illustrates the government’s emphasis on combating health care fraud and marks another achievement for the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT) initiative, which was announced in May 2009 by the Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services.  The partnership between the two departments has focused efforts to reduce and prevent Medicare and Medicaid financial fraud through enhanced cooperation.  One of the most powerful tools in this effort is the False Claims Act.  Since January 2009, the Justice Department has recovered a total of more than $30.5 billion through False Claims Act cases, with more than $18.4 billion of that amount recovered in cases involving fraud against federal health care programs.

 

 

GeyerGorey LLP is experienced in working with clients to successfully resolve the toughest, most complicated white collar criminal investigations, including FCPA, frauds including grant fraud and procurement fraud, and competition matters including antitrust and anti-dumping cases. Our partners all have over 20 years of senior level experience with the US Department of Justice and deep expertise in the field of federal white collar crimes. We know how the government’s enforcement agencies think and what they look for in these types of investigations. We use these insights to help our clients mount an effective and efficient defense that specifically addresses any red flags that federal agents look for when conducting an investigation. If your organization is under investigation, or you are concerned that an investigation may be launched, GeyerGorey LLP may be the right firm for you. Call Now +1 (888) 293-0644