By John H. Fisher II
November 18, 2016
The Department of Health and Human Services has issued new interim final rules to adjust a variety of Federal Civil Penalties for inflation. The Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 required the agency to promulgate a “catch-up adjustment” in these penalties through an interim final rule. Additionally, HHS agencies were instructed to update their civil monetary penalty-specific regulations to include a cross-reference to the new adjusted penalty amounts.
Many of the upward adjustments in civil penalties were substantial because they had not been updated in a number of years. For example, maximum “per claim” penalties under the False Claims Act were increased from $11,000 per claim to nearly $25,000 per claim. Increases of this nature substantially increase the stakes for health care providers and other businesses that make claims to the Federal government. In areas such as health care, where numerous claims may be submitted every day, the calculation of penalties can quickly become astronomical. This provides more impetus on providers to actively operate compliance programs to identify potential False Claims Act risks and fashion corrective actions where warranted.
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