Holder: More resources on the way for U.S. Attorney’s Office

Attorney General talks health care fraud

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Friday said the traditionally understaffed U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee will be getting new resources to fight crime in the region.

Holder, along with U.S. Attorney Jerry Martin, met with Nashville reporters to discuss health care fraud initiatives nationally and locally when he made the commitment.

“This district is one of 25 that we have determined to be ‘distressed,’” said Holder, promising that Martin and his district would receive additional personnel to remedy the situation.

Holder praised Martin’s team for its work despite not having the staff of other U.S. Attorney’s offices.

Since the Obama administration came into office, health care fraud has been one of the initiatives the Attorney General has asked U.S. Attorneys to give attention to. In 2010, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee recovered $3 million in false health care claims. That figure jumped to $105 million last year.

Holder said health care fraud has “become an epidemic.” Working with the Department of Health and Human Services, his department recovered more than $4.1 billion nationally last year. He added that those efforts are “morally right and fiscally responsible” and said each dollar the Office of Management and Budget allocates to the fight returns $7, up from $3 a few years ago.

“This is an initiative of all government, not just our office and HHS, but with state and local partners, too,” Holder said. “Jerry has heard this and is carrying it out.”

In the meeting, it was also revealed that HHS this week provided the Middle District of Tennessee with a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney that will work exclusively on combatting health care fraud.