August 14, 2017

DOJ Announces Enhanced Enforcement of Healthcare FCPA Compliance

Holland & Knight Healthcare Blog
Wifredo A. Ferrer

The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Criminal Fraud Section announced a new partnership between DOJ’s Healthcare Fraud Unit’s Corporate Strike Force and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) prosecutors. The partnership is meant to ensure that U.S. healthcare companies, which often interact directly with foreign governments in those countries with government controlled healthcare, are held accountable to the standards of the FCPA. Last month, Sandra Moser, the acting chief of DOJ’s Criminal Fraud Section, explained at an anti-corruption compliance conference in Washington, D.C., “Prosecutors from our Healthcare Fraud Unit’s Corporate Strike Force will begin working hand in hand with FCPA prosecutors on select criminal investigations in the healthcare fraud space. This increased coordination will ensure that companies, their executives, employees, and agents are held to account for the payment of bribes and kickbacks to foreign and domestic officials and actors regardless of the market.”

Moser also advised healthcare companies to empower their compliance executives now rather than forcing them to “sit before the Department and defend a program that they fought to make better and were denied the resources or backing to see through.” The FCPA blog outlines basic compliance components DOJ expects international corporations to have, including maintaining a confidential employee hotline, enhancing training, obtaining certifications from those “at the top of the food chain” regarding the effectiveness of the compliance program, and adopting guidelines to clawback bonuses and other compensation from executives who “engage in misconduct or who simply fail to promote compliance within their organization.”

DOJ encourages companies to review the Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs, which is found on its website and includes a list of questions the Criminal Fraud Section will ask during an investigation, and the Measuring Compliance Program Effectiveness: a Resource Guide, a comprehensive guide to compliance for healthcare companies. The DOJ blog also outlines four ways healthcare companies should proactively review their compliance standards including enacting strong anti-bribery compliance policies, ensuring adequate oversight training and resources for both employees and contractors, ensuring routine audits to ensure compliance, and establishing mechanisms to appropriately and quickly address FCPA violations when they are discovered.

For more information, feel free to contact the author.

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