What Are the Penalties in UPIC Audits? - Federal Lawyer
WSJ logo
Forbes logo
Fox News logo
CNN logo
Bloomberg logo
Los Angeles Times logo
Washington Post logo
The Epoch Times logo
Telemundo logo
New York Times
NY Post logo
NBC logo
Daily Beast logo
USA Today logo
Miami Herald logo
CNBC logo
Dallas News logo

What Are the Penalties in UPIC Audits?

Referral to Law Enforcement Agencies

Lynette Byrd
Attorney Lynette Byrd
Healthcare Fraud Team Lead
Former DOJ Attorney
Nick Oberheiden
Attorney Nick Oberheiden
Healthcare Fraud Team
Kevin M. Sheridan
Kevin M. Sheridan
Healthcare Fraud Team
Former FBI Special Agent
Wade McFaul
Wade McFaul
Healthcare Fraud Team
Former HHS-OIG Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge

In the most serious cases of fraud, UPIC auditors refer the case to the DOJ or U.S. Attorney’s Office for prosecution or to the HHS OIG for further investigation.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office generally brings claims resulting from a UPIC Audit under the False Claims Act. Under The False Claims Act (18 U.S.C. § 287), the government must establish that the defendant: (1) made or presented a false, fictitious, or fraudulent claim to a department of the United States; (2) knew such claim was false, fictitious, or fraudulent; and (3) did so with the specific intent to violate the law or with a consciousness that what he was doing was wrong. Case law has revealed that specific intent to defraud is not required. When a UPIC auditor has a qualified reason to believe that a violation of the FCA has occurred, it may refer the case as such. Because of the extensive and intrusive nature of a UPIC Audit, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and DOJ, take the UPIC’s recommendation very seriously.

Generally, FCA claims against providers are prosecuted by the Civil Division of the applicable jurisdiction of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Therefore, the penalty after litigation is generally a monetary civil penalty, which has a statutory limit amount. For the most up-to-date information on the limits of the monetary penalty, providers should consult an attorney working in the field.

UPIC audits can lead to both civil and criminal penalties following further OIG investigation. These do not have the same limitations in the False Claims Act. Therefore, providers should consult an experienced healthcare attorney to ensure that any applied penalties are as limited as possible.

Referral to the Medicare Administrative Contractor for Recoupment of Overpayment

When a UPIC audit reveals overpayment without an indication of fraud, the case may be referred to the Medicare Administrative Contractor to recoup the overpayment directly from the provider. Although the amount of recoupment can be in the hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of dollars, it is a less severe penalty than referral to law enforcement agencies. After the demand for recoupment is made, providers have a chance to appeal the demand. The five-step appeals process can save providers a lot of money. Therefore, providers should consult an experienced healthcare attorney with a record of reducing the amount of recoupment.

Provider Education & Other Sanctions

Provider education or other discretionary sanctions are the least punitive and best possible outcome of a UPIC Audit for the provider. This outcome means that the provider will not be assessed an overpayment demand or other potential sanction that might be determined by the government after UPIC auditors choose to refer a case to the government for further investigation. Providers should heed the advice of educators and make all changes that are recommended to maintain compliance and avoid future audits and investigations.

Put our highly experienced team on your side

Oberheiden, P.C.
Former Medicare Prosecutors & Defense Counsel

Thousands of UPIC audit requests are made every year. Oberheiden P.C. has extensive experience advising and counseling clients during the UPIC audit process. The Firm also has an impeccable record when achieving favorable outcomes in UPIC audits and avoiding referral to the Department of Justice for further investigation or prosecution. The experience of our attorneys, many of which served the Department of Justice until recently as supervising healthcare fraud prosecutors, covers all aspects of healthcare compliance as well as effective defense strategies. Because we know what type of information the government is looking for, we can prepare our clients to avoid common mistakes.

Our team has successfully defended business owners, healthcare executives, and medical professionals through UPIC audits and other cases involving the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU), the Office of Inspector General (OIG), the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Department of Defense (DOD), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and other law enforcement agencies.

Reach out to us using our contact form, or call us today and speak to one of our experienced attorneys directly. We are available to discuss your situation in a free and confidential call, including on weekends.

Oberheiden, P.C.
Compliance – Litigation – Defense

Why Clients Trust Oberheiden P.C.

  • 2,000+ Cases Won
  • Available Nights & Weekends
  • Experienced Trial Attorneys
  • Former Department of Justice Trial Attorney
  • Former Federal Prosecutors, U.S. Attorney’s Office
  • Former Agents from FBI, OIG, DEA
  • Serving Clients Nationwide
Email Us 888-680-1745