by Ellen Bonner, Callaway Bonner Law LLC (Guest Author)
Warning: TRICARE Claims Processing Suspension May Occur During Health Care Fraud Investigations for Compounding Pharmacy Prescriptions
Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on a significant federal investigation regarding compounding pharmacies and compound pharmaceutical prescriptions for TRICARE beneficiaries in at least four states. TRICARE, the federal health benefit program under the Defense Health Agency, provides health care benefits for more than 9.5 million current and retired members of the uniformed services and their families. TRICARE health care fraud allegations can result not only in civil and criminal sanctions, but also in TRICARE claims processing temporary suspensions, as well as provider exclusion and termination from TRICARE and other federal healthcare programs.
Health Care Fraud: Civil and Criminal Action
According to the WSJ there were four civil fraud settlements by Florida pharmacies last month that will soon be reported. These settlements – amounting to $12.8 million – are based upon allegations of falsely billing TRICARE for expensive pharmaceutical creams and gels to treat pain, scars, and other ailments. The WSJ reported that federal prosecutors are pursuing “numerous criminal investigations,” and the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida anticipates filing criminal charges in early 2016 against pharmacies, drug marketers, and physicians cited in the settlements. Separate Justice Department investigations on compounding pharmacies are ongoing in California, Mississippi, and Texas. Continue reading