Detroit Health Care Fraud Defense Attorney Dr. Nick Oberheiden
In the old days, being a good doctor and enjoying an excellent reputation within the community were enough to shield oneself against unfair and absurd allegations of misconduct and fraud. Today, these standards are trampled on by aggressive, relentless prosecutions victimizing even the finest doctors in Detroit, Michigan.
Featured by media stations across Michigan, attorney Dr. Nick Oberheiden dedicates his practice to the defense of physicians and health care businesses. The son and brother of a physician, Nick has early on seen a need to provide effective strategies to medical providers accused of fraud and wrongdoings. With hundreds of health care fraud cases and grand jury investigations handled, Nick understands too well what mistakes to avoid and what skillset is needed to avoid or defeat charges.
- “Federal Court Room Superstar”
- “The Very Best”
- “Brilliant Strategy”
- “A true life saver”
- “There Is No One Better”
- “Federal Litigation Superstar”
- “Simply Unrivaled”
The skillset needed is twofold. Many lawyers are either health care lawyers or they are criminal defense attorneys. Nick is both. He combined the two areas of law because, in his opinion, a criminal defense lawyer will never convince a health care fraud prosecutor or a jury of health care laws and defenses unless the defense lawyer masters the subject matter himself. Vice-versa, knowing all the health care laws does not help you when you don’t have the experience to negotiate with FBI agents and federal prosecutors or appearing in federal court.
- Grand Jury Subpoena
- Target Letter
- DEA Diversion Cases
- Opioid & Controlled Substances Act
- FBI and OIG Medicare Fraud Cases
- Whistleblower Defense (“Qui Tam”)
- Criminal Kickback Investigations
- Medicare Fraud Audits (ZPIC)
- Medicaid Fraud (Including Dental Fraud)
- Stark Law
Many Detroit health care fraud investigations involve prosecutors and agents from the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU), the Attorney General of Michigan, the DEA, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, and agents from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS-OIG).
Why Do Detroit Physicians Trust Dr. Nick Oberheiden, Esq.?
Nick delivers results. Nick has successfully defended countless numbers of physicians and health care providers against accusations of Medicare fraud, Medicaid fraud, and illegal kickbacks. Nick has avoided criminal charges in hundreds of federal investigations at U.S. Attorney’s Offices across the country. Here are a few recent examples.
- (1) Grand Jury Investigation. A physician contacted Nick after having received a federal grand jury subpoena. The client was concerned to end up indicted for having received illegal kickbacks. Nick helped the client organize the document production and, at the same time, began negotiations with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI. This gave Nick the opportunity to put his client into a different light and to show the government a different perspective of its case. After several rounds of negotiations and meetings, Nick obtained information that his approach saved his client from criminal charges.
- (2) Grand Jury Investigation. Federal agents showed up at a physician’s office with a request for an interview and with a grand jury subpoena asking for financial statements. Panicked, the physician hired Nick begging him to avoid criminal charges and to save his medical license. The investigation centered on alleged violations of the Controlled Substances Act. Nick initiated discussions with the prosecutor and the team of OIG and FBI agents and introduced information not previously known to the government. As it turns out, this information became so critical to the case that the government agreed to discontinue its investigation of Nick’s client.
- (3) Whistleblower Defense Case. Nick has defended many business owners against allegations of fraud brought under the False Claims Act. In one of his last cases, Nick and his team convinced a federal judge to drop the case against Nick’s client even though Nick’s client was considered the mastermind and even though all other co-defendants were denied to be dismissed from the case. If your business is sued for fraud, you should speak to Nick Oberheiden of how to avoid a government intervention and how to stop the case without ending up in civil or criminal fines.
- (4) Avoiding Criminal Indictments. Many clients come to Nick because they are under investigation by the government or were just recently contacted by federal agents informing them that they are involved in a federal criminal case. Nick knows crisis management and, over the years, Nick has developed his own formula when it comes to keeping clients out of trouble and avoiding charges. The priority in each case is to avoid public charges; this is even more so important for medical providers who could lose their license. If you find yourself in such situation, then know that the earlier you call qualified counsel, the better the chances to avoid criminal charges. As for Nick, Nick has avoided criminal charges in health care fraud investigations in the vast majority of all cases simply because he understands health care rules and because he is a skilled negotiator at the same time.
- (5) Call Nick directly at (214) 692-2171 to discuss more examples and your situation.
10 Important Questions Regarding Health Care Fraud Investigations in Detroit, Michigan
Health care fraud defense is among the most complex areas of the law. Detroit physicians and business owners need to realize that there will not be second chance. If accused of fraud, they must retain counsel that can get the job done and protect the physician’s license. The following questions are among the most commonly raised issues in health care fraud consultations. Of course, Nick Oberheiden is available to address your very personal questions in a free and confidential consultation with you. Just call him at (214) 692-2171 and speak to him directly.
Q: What Mistake Should I Avoid in a Detroit Health Care Fraud Investigation?
Perhaps the biggest mistake to avoid in a Michigan federal health care fraud investigation is to voluntarily speak with law-enforcement. In almost every health care fraud matter, agents of the OIG and the FBI will try to “surprise” people at their house or business with a request for an interview. Often times, agents will tell you that they just have a few questions and that the case is not about you. The truth is that agents will use this tactic to make you less fearful and more comfortable to share information with them that they would otherwise not receive. If you or one of your business affiliates is contacted by agents, do not make the mistake to speak with them without an experienced attorney first establishing what the interview is about and what exposure you may have. The truth is that you will almost never benefit from an interview and certainly not when you are unprepared and blinded by empty promises of the agents.
Q: Can I Be Guilty of or Convicted for Health Care Fraud If I Had No Intent?
No, you cannot be convicted of a crime if the government is unable to show that you had the requisite criminal intent. When the government brings its case, the prosecutor assumes that the alleged misconduct occurred intentionally and willfully. The job of a health care fraud defense attorney is to trash that assumption and to apply proven factors to sabotage the government’s case and to show that no willful misconduct occurred. This “showing” does not mean that the government gets rid of its burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did something wrong. It simply means that information needs to be introduced to cast doubt about the government story in an effort to negate the essential element of intent. While in ordinary criminal cases, like a rape accusation, a classic defense attorney can say that things happen consensually, health care fraud cases are more nuanced and require an understanding of the underlying health care laws and regulations to make tailored and case specific objections. For example, if a client is accused of having received illegal kickbacks, Nick Oberheiden has shown over and over how alleged misconduct was perfectly acceptable within applicable safe harbor provisions.
Q: Who Investigates Health Care Cases in Detroit, Michigan?
Health care fraud in Detroit, Michigan is investigated by a number of federal agencies including the Department of Justice, the FBI, the Office of Inspector General, the DEA, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the special task force for Medicare fraud, the so-called Medicare Fraud Strike Force. If you or your business were contacted by any of these agencies, you should understand that your chances of escaping the investigation unharmed will be highest if you implement an effective defense strategy with an experienced attorney as early as possible in the investigation while there still is an opportunity to persuade the government that you did not do anything wrong.
Q: What Are Current Detroit Opioid Investigations About?
Detroit, just like the rest of the country, is experiencing unprecedented waves of opioid and controlled substances investigations by the DEA and the FBI. A declared priority of federal law-enforcement, pain medication abuse and medically unnecessary prescriptions are on the top agenda of federal prosecutors in Detroit and throughout Michigan. The core allegation is that physicians who regularly prescribe pain medications to chronic pain patients are acting outside the scope of accepted standards of medicine and thus become subjects to criminal violations of the Controlled Substances Act at 21 U.S.C. 841. If your practice received a DEA subpoena or was subject to a DEA search warrant, you must understand that the government is building a criminal case against you. Your license and your freedom are at serious risk. Do not hesitate and do not give up. Call renowned DEA defense attorney Dr. Nick Oberheiden and speak to him directly about effective defense strategies to make sure you continue the practice of medicine in a safe and uninterrupted manner.
Q: Who Are the Targets of Detroit Drug Diversion Investigations?
Detroit physicians regularly prescribing medications that fall under Schedule I, Schedule II, or Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act must realize that current law enforcement is targeting prescribers, users, and pharmacies alike for alleged drug diversion and opioid abuse. The government’s position is that many of the 90 or so overdoes occurring in the U.S. each day can be avoided by putting a stop to the opioid dispensing and prescription authorizations. The truth, however, of course, is that physicians in Detroit face chronic pain patients that have exhausted traditional medical care. Nonetheless, it is now expected to carefully scrutinize your controlled substances policies and protocols and to implement changes geared towards an interdisciplinary pain management approach. If you are under investigation by the DEA or if you have questions about drug diversion and compliance, you should speak to Nick Oberheiden. Nick has assisted physicians and pharmacy owners across the country against DEA audits and investigations.
Q: Should I Cooperate with Federal Agents?
You have a constitutional right not to cooperate with federal law-enforcement and you should make use of that right. In hundreds of federal cases handled so far, attorney Nick Oberheiden has never seen once a benefit for a client to volunteer information to the FBI, the OIG, the DEA, or any other health care fraud enforcement agency. By contrast, the right approach is for an experienced attorney to first evaluate the case, and then determine if, upon professional and diligent preparation of a client, a coordinated meeting with the government may serve the clients best interest.
Q: What Should I Do: Our Detroit Business Received a Grand Jury Subpoena?
The purpose of grand jury subpoenas in health care investigations is to gather and collect information and documents in an effort for the grand jurors to determine whether or not to bring criminal charges against an individual or a business. If you received a grand jury subpoena against your Michigan health care business, you must understand that any mistake from here on can bring you dangerously close to criminal charges. The difference between “no charges” and further inviting you to the criminal case is the quality of advice from your lawyer. While most lawyers will advise you to simply produce requested documents and thus encourage you to give up your constitutional rights for no reason, Nick Oberheiden, will give you different type of advice and will immediately explore options with the issuing prosecutor to end the investigation before it escalates to a criminal case against Nick’s client.
Q: Who Investigated Medicare Fraud in Detroit, Michigan?
What makes Medicare fraud cases in Detroit more challenging than elsewhere is the fact that Detroit is one of only a handful of cities, in which health care fraud is investigated not just by the local U.S. Attorney’s Office, but also by the so-called Medicare Fraud Strike Force. The Medicare Fraud Strike Force is an especially equipped and trained team of federal agents and seasoned health care fraud prosecutors tasked to investigate and prosecute health care violations in the Eastern District of Michigan— with extra resources and support from the Department of Justice headquarters in Washington DC. However, whether the Strike Force or just the U.S. Attorney’s Office oversees an investigation makes no difference when it comes to defending unfair charges against innocent people. The standards for the government, that is to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, remains the same and the job of health care fraud defense attorneys like Dr. Nick Oberheiden, J.D. Ph.D. remains to deny, defend, and negate criminal intent.
Q: Should Our Business Report Billing Errors to CMS and Medicare?
Every health care business will at some point make mistakes when it comes to applying correct billing and coding procedures. Health care rules are too complex and ever changing for a practice to be perfect. However, not every issue should prompt a business to disclose a mistake and to open itself up for potential audits and investigations. Nick Oberheiden is actually one of the few attorneys that have made use of the CMS self-disclosure protocols for clients and has the experience to know why most situations do not qualify for such a disclosure. If you have questions about the self-disclosure protocol or questions of civil and criminal liability following a self-disclosure, rely on Nick Oberheiden, who has successfully navigated clients through the process and, vice versa, recommended against it in a number of instances.
Q: Who Is the Right Lawyer for My Case?
Just like you would not choose any surgeon to conduct a brain or spine surgery on you, you should be careful when it comes to defending your life and your livelihood against federal law enforcement. Not every lawyer has the experience to negotiate health care cases with the FBI and health care prosecutors and not every attorney can say that he or she has avoided criminal charges in federal health care fraud investigations in the vast majority of cases. The key to effectively helping clients accused of Medicare fraud, Medicaid fraud, opioid violations, or illegal kickbacks is to understand the underlying rules and regulations AND, at the same time, to have the skillset to make compelling health care defense arguments in front of prosecutors and federal judges.