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Health care fraud penalties: wide-ranging and significant

Conscientious health care providers across New York -- doctors, nurses, pharmacists, lab technicians and others -- routinely think about care quality and how to best ensure that their patients are receiving it.

While doing so, though, they are also focused on an additional matter these days that has nothing to do with patient outcomes and that has cast a dark cloud over the entire medical industry.

That is this: fear of being targeted and punished in a health care fraud probe.

The fear is far from trivial, with the consequences of being identified as a law breaker often being materially severe.

We note on a relevant page of our health care law website at the Dutchess County law firm of Daniels, Porco & Lusardi that health care fraud and abuse "has become a growing concern for the federal government in recent years."

That elevated scrutiny routinely yields harsh criminal, civil and administrative sanctions for alleged offenders who cannot put up a legal defense sufficient to ward off penalties that stain their reputations and can easily threaten their livelihoods.

A fundamental point about health care fraud is that many individuals accused of engaging in it do so -- if at all -- unwittingly and with no bad-faith intent whatever to defraud the public. The area is so heavily regulated and complex that even the most careful and conscientious provider can make mistakes.

Indeed, we note on our site that legions of medical actors face heavy fines, exclusion from federal care programs and even incarceration "as a result of errors, oversights or misinterpreted actions."

And, of course, it is often the case that they have done nothing wrong at all. Regulators make mistakes, too.

The downsides of any health care fraud allegation can be swift and dire. Questions or concerns can be directed to an experienced health care attorney.

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