There is a difference with being charged with a crime at the state level and being charged with a crime at the federal level. At the state level, the state handles the prosecution of the crime, meaning that the legal processes and procedures are state-facilitated and mandated. When a case is in federal court, however, the case follows federal rules and regulations, which can be different, depending on the type of case that is being prosecuted. There are certain cases that are only heard at a federal level. These cases include, but are not limited to, fraud cases, hate crimes, child pornography cases, kidnapping cases and computer crimes.
When it comes to white collar crimes, or crimes that are made by businesses or business people usually related to money as motivation, nothing is more prominent than fraud. Fraud is committed by misrepresenting some type of financial aspect in order to profit from the misrepresentation. The Affordable Care Act has the entire medical community turned upside-down now that the health care industry has more government influence. The federal government is now turning its attention to fraud in the health care industry.
Although not everyone in Louisiana and other states is aware of it, healthcare fraud has become a significant problem in the United States over the past few decades. The magnitude of the damage to the healthcare system, including public and private insurance programs, led federal legislators in the 1990s to make defrauding the Medicare system a federal crime. Even so, criminal offenses involving healthcare providers and individuals with criminal motives continue to take billions in taxpayer dollars out of the economy. For this reason, anyone facing federal charges of fraud faces prison if convicted.
Individuals who have limited resources or low-wage earning families can rely on Medicaid to obtain health care services. Here in Louisiana, both state and federal officials monitor the Medicaid program to ensure that the system provides legitimate health care to deserving individuals while preventing abusive practices that tax the system. Readers need to understand that patients, providers and insurers can be charged with Medicaid fraud by committing some of the offenses that are outlined below.
The health-care insurance system is intended to provide patients with the best possible medical treatment while guaranteeing that health-care providers who perform services get paid, whether in Louisiana or another state. Unfortunately, sometimes patients and health-care providers can face allegations of federal health care fraud if Medicare discrepancies occur. Patients and health-care providers should understand what sort of common behaviors and mistakes can lead to fraud charges and thus how to avoid them.
In Louisiana, as in other states, investigations into alleged cases of health-care fraud are fairly common. Whether it is fraudulent billing or overbilling that leads to Medicare fraud or something else, a federal charge means that an individual will face serious penalties if convicted. Although nonviolent, these crimes are considered serious because they take money away from legitimate claims and constitute theft from taxpayers. Health-care professionals may be especially prone to fraud charges if an investigation reveals that they billed patients for services that never occurred or were never properly documented. If not dealt with properly, these charges can have life-altering consequences.
Among federal crimes, health-care fraud is quite commonly prosecuted across the country, including in Louisiana. This type of fraud often involves health-care providers and professionals such as physicians, dentists, pharmacists and facilities operators as well as ordinary citizens. Those accused of health-care fraud typically face charges of defrauding the federal government's Medicare and Medicaid programs. Sometimes the only way for a defendant to clear his or her name is through a trial in which defenses can be presented to a judge or jury and prosecutors' cases and evidence can be challenged.
In the United States, people aged 65 and above, and those younger with certain disabilities, rely on Medicare. The federal government oversees the system, ensuring that the taxpayers' money does not go to waste. Millions of dollars, however, are lost every year because of Medicare fraud. Due to this, the federal government is vigilant in prosecuting those who are accused of Medicare fraud. Due to the rising population of seniors in Louisiana and beyond, it is helpful to learn more about Medicare fraud and who can be charged with this federal crime.
Defrauding a health-care system such as Medicare is a serious federal crime everywhere in the United States, including Louisiana. Every month it seems federal health care fraud cases involving health-care professionals make the news. It is important to note that physicians, surgeons, dentists and pharmacists are not the only ones who can face federal charges. If they have violated any law governing federal health-care coverage, consumers can also face charges.
Some criminal offenses are prosecuted in state courts while others are considered more serious and are prosecuted in federal courts. Most Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana, readers understand that federal crimes are more serious than state-level misdemeanors. Federal criminal offenses may carry more lengthy prison sentences, large fines and other penalties. One type of fraud that can make headlines is Medicare fraud - but what exactly does that mean?