42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7a - U.S. Code - Unannotated Title 42. The Public Health and Welfare § 1320a-7a. Civil monetary penalties

(a) Improperly filed claims

Any person (including an organization, agency, or other entity, but excluding a beneficiary, as defined in subsection (i)(5) of this section) that--

(1)  knowingly presents or causes to be presented to an officer, employee, or agent of the United States, or of any department or agency thereof, or of any State agency (as defined in subsection (i)(1) of this section), a claim (as defined in subsection (i)(2) of this section) that the Secretary determines--

(A)  is for a medical or other item or service that the person knows or should know was not provided as claimed, including any person who engages in a pattern or practice of presenting or causing to be presented a claim for an item or service that is based on a code that the person knows or should know will result in a greater payment to the person than the code the person knows or should know is applicable to the item or service actually provided,

(B)  is for a medical or other item or service and the person knows or should know the claim is false or fraudulent,

(C)  is presented for a physician's service (or an item or service incident to a physician's service) by a person who knows or should know that the individual who furnished (or supervised the furnishing of) the service--

(i)  was not licensed as a physician,

(ii)  was licensed as a physician, but such license had been obtained through a misrepresentation of material fact (including cheating on an examination required for licensing), or

(iii)  represented to the patient at the time the service was furnished that the physician was certified in a medical specialty by a medical specialty board when the individual was not so certified,

(D)  is for a medical or other item or service furnished during a period in which the person was excluded from the Federal health care program (as defined in section 1320a-7b(f) of this title) under which the claim was made pursuant to Federal law.   1

(E)  is for a pattern of medical or other items or services that a person knows or should know are not medically necessary;

(2)  knowingly presents or causes to be presented to any person a request for payment which is in violation of the terms of (A) an assignment under section 1395u(b)(3)(B)(ii) of this title, or (B) an agreement with a State agency (or other requirement of a State plan under subchapter XIX of this chapter) not to charge a person for an item or service in excess of the amount permitted to be charged, or (C) an agreement to be a participating physician or supplier under section 1395u(h)(1) of this title, or (D) an agreement pursuant to section 1395cc(a)(1)(G) of this title;

(3)  knowingly gives or causes to be given to any person, with respect to coverage under subchapter XVIII of this chapter of inpatient hospital services subject to the provisions of section 1395ww of this title, information that he knows or should know is false or misleading, and that could reasonably be expected to influence the decision when to discharge such person or another individual from the hospital;

(4)  in the case of a person who is not an organization, agency, or other entity, is excluded from participating in a program under subchapter XVIII of this chapter or a State health care program in accordance with this subsection or under section 1320a-7 of this title and who, at the time of a violation of this subsection--

(A)  retains a direct or indirect ownership or control interest in an entity that is participating in a program under subchapter XVIII of this chapter or a State health care program, and who knows or should know of the action constituting the basis for the exclusion;  or

(B)  is an officer or managing employee (as defined in section 1320a-5(b) of this title) of such an entity;

(5)  offers to or transfers remuneration to any individual eligible for benefits under subchapter XVIII of this chapter, or under a State health care program (as defined in section 1320a-7(h) of this title) that such person knows or should know is likely to influence such individual to order or receive from a particular provider, practitioner, or supplier any item or service for which payment may be made, in whole or in part, under subchapter XVIII of this chapter, or a State health care program (as so defined);

(6)  arranges or contracts (by employment or otherwise) with an individual or entity that the person knows or should know is excluded from participation in a Federal health care program (as defined in section 1320a-7b(f) of this title), for the provision of items or services for which payment may be made under such a program;

(7)  commits an act described in paragraph (1) or (2) of section 1320a-7b(b) of this title;

(8)  2 knowingly makes, uses, or causes to be made or used, a false record or statement material to a false or fraudulent claim for payment for items and services furnished under a Federal health care program;  or   3

(9)  4 fails to grant timely access, upon reasonable request (as defined by the Secretary in regulations), to the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services, for the purpose of audits, investigations, evaluations, or other statutory functions of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services;

(8)  2 orders or prescribes a medical or other item or service during a period in which the person was excluded from a Federal health care program (as so defined), in the case where the person knows or should know that a claim for such medical or other item or service will be made under such a program;

(9)  4 knowingly makes or causes to be made any false statement, omission, or misrepresentation of a material fact in any application, bid, or contract to participate or enroll as a provider of services or a supplier under a Federal health care program (as so defined), including Medicare Advantage organizations under part C of subchapter XVIII of this chapter, prescription drug plan sponsors under part D of subchapter XVIII of this chapter, medicaid managed care organizations under subchapter XIX of this chapter, and entities that apply to participate as providers of services or suppliers in such managed care organizations and such plans;   5

(10)  knows of an overpayment (as defined in paragraph (4) of section 1320a-7k(d) ) of this title) and does not report and return the overpayment in accordance with such section;

shall be subject, in addition to any other penalties that may be prescribed by law, to a civil money penalty of not more than $10,000 for each item or service (or, in cases under paragraph (3), $15,000 for each individual with respect to whom false or misleading information was given;  in cases under paragraph (4), $10,000 for each day the prohibited relationship occurs;  in cases under paragraph (7), $50,000 for each such act,   6 in cases under paragraph (8),   7$50,000 for each false record or statement,   6 or    8 in cases under paragraph (9),  9 $15,000 for each day of the failure described in such paragraph); [FN10]  or in cases under paragraph (9), [FN11] $50,000 for each false statement or misrepresentation of a material fact).  In addition, such a person shall be subject to an assessment of not more than 3 times the amount claimed for each such item or service in lieu of damages sustained by the United States or a State agency because of such claim (or, in cases under paragraph (7), damages of not more than 3 times the total amount of remuneration offered, paid, solicited, or received, without regard to whether a portion of such remuneration was offered, paid, solicited, or received for a lawful purpose;  or in cases under paragraph (9), an assessment of not more than 3 times the total amount claimed for each item or service for which payment was made based upon the application containing the false statement or misrepresentation of a material fact). In addition the Secretary may make a determination in the same proceeding to exclude the person from participation in the Federal health care programs (as defined in section 1320a-7b(f)(1) of this title) and to direct the appropriate State agency to exclude the person from participation in any State health care program.

(b) Payments to induce reduction or limitation of services

(1)  If a hospital or a critical access hospital knowingly makes a payment, directly or indirectly, to a physician as an inducement to reduce or limit medically necessary services provided with respect to individuals who--

(A)  are entitled to benefits under part A or part B of subchapter XVIII of this chapter or to medical assistance under a State plan approved under subchapter XIX of this chapter, and

(B)  are under the direct care of the physician,

the hospital or a critical access hospital shall be subject, in addition to any other penalties that may be prescribed by law, to a civil money penalty of not more than $2,000 for each such individual with respect to whom the payment is made.

(2)  Any physician who knowingly accepts receipt of a payment described in paragraph (1) shall be subject, in addition to any other penalties that may be prescribed by law, to a civil money penalty of not more than $2,000 for each individual described in such paragraph with respect to whom the payment is made.

(3)(A)  Any physician who executes a document described in subparagraph (B) with respect to an individual knowing that all of the requirements referred to in such subparagraph are not met with respect to the individual shall be subject to a civil monetary penalty of not more than the greater of--

(i)  $5,000, or

(ii)  three times the amount of the payments under subchapter XVIII of this chapter for home health services which are made pursuant to such certification.

(B)  A document described in this subparagraph is any document that certifies, for purposes of subchapter XVIII of this chapter, that an individual meets the requirements of section 1395f(a)(2)(C) or 1395n(a)(2)(A) of this title in the case of home health services furnished to the individual.

(c) Initiation of proceeding;  authorization by Attorney General, notice, etc., estoppel, failure to comply with order or procedure

(1)  The Secretary may initiate a proceeding to determine whether to impose a civil money penalty, assessment, or exclusion under subsection (a) or (b) of this section only as authorized by the Attorney General pursuant to procedures agreed upon by them.  The Secretary may not initiate an action under this section with respect to any claim, request for payment, or other occurrence described in this section later than six years after the date the claim was presented, the request for payment was made, or the occurrence took place.  The Secretary may initiate an action under this section by serving notice of the action in any manner authorized by Rule 4 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure .

(2)  The Secretary shall not make a determination adverse to any person under subsection (a) or (b) of this section until the person has been given written notice and an opportunity for the determination to be made on the record after a hearing at which the person is entitled to be represented by counsel, to present witnesses, and to cross-examine witnesses against the person.

(3)  In a proceeding under subsection (a) or (b) of this section which--

(A)  is against a person who has been convicted (whether upon a verdict after trial or upon a plea of guilty or nolo contendere) of a Federal crime charging fraud or false statements, and

(B)  involves the same transaction as in the criminal action,

the person is estopped from denying the essential elements of the criminal offense.

(4)  The official conducting a hearing under this section may sanction a person, including any party or attorney, for failing to comply with an order or procedure, failing to defend an action, or other misconduct as would interfere with the speedy, orderly, or fair conduct of the hearing.  Such sanction shall reasonably relate to the severity and nature of the failure or misconduct.  Such sanction may include--

(A)  in the case of refusal to provide or permit discovery, drawing negative factual inferences or treating such refusal as an admission by deeming the matter, or certain facts, to be established,

(B)  prohibiting a party from introducing certain evidence or otherwise supporting a particular claim or defense,

(C)  striking pleadings, in whole or in part,

(D)  staying the proceedings,

(E)  dismissal of the action,

(F)  entering a default judgment,

(G)  ordering the party or attorney to pay attorneys' fees and other costs caused by the failure or misconduct, and

(H)  refusing to consider any motion or other action which is not filed in a timely manner.

(d) Amount or scope of penalty, assessment, or exclusion

In determining the amount or scope of any penalty, assessment, or exclusion imposed pursuant to subsection (a) or (b) of this section, the Secretary shall take into account--

(1)  the nature of claims and the circumstances under which they were presented,

(2)  the degree of culpability, history of prior offenses, and financial condition of the person presenting the claims, and

(3)  such other matters as justice may require.

(e) Review by courts of appeals

Any person adversely affected by a determination of the Secretary under this section may obtain a review of such determination in the United States Court of Appeals for the circuit in which the person resides, or in which the claim was presented, by filing in such court (within sixty days following the date the person is notified of the Secretary's determination) a written petition requesting that the determination be modified or set aside.  A copy of the petition shall be forthwith transmitted by the clerk of the court to the Secretary, and thereupon the Secretary shall file in the Court  [FN12] the record in the proceeding as provided in section 2112 of Title 28 .  Upon such filing, the court shall have jurisdiction of the proceeding and of the question determined therein, and shall have the power to make and enter upon the pleadings, testimony, and proceedings set forth in such record a decree affirming, modifying, remanding for further consideration, or setting aside, in whole or in part, the determination of the Secretary and enforcing the same to the extent that such order is affirmed or modified.  No objection that has not been urged before the Secretary shall be considered by the court, unless the failure or neglect to urge such objection shall be excused because of extraordinary circumstances.  The findings of the Secretary with respect to questions of fact, if supported by substantial evidence on the record considered as a whole, shall be conclusive.  If any party shall apply to the court for leave to adduce additional evidence and shall show to the satisfaction of the court that such additional evidence is material and that there were reasonable grounds for the failure to adduce such evidence in the hearing before the Secretary, the court may order such additional evidence to be taken before the Secretary and to be made a part of the record.  The Secretary may modify his findings as to the facts, or make new findings, by reason of additional evidence so taken and filed, and he shall file with the court such modified or new findings, which findings with respect to questions of fact, if supported by substantial evidence on the record considered as a whole, shall be conclusive, and his recommendations, if any, for the modification or setting aside of his original order.  Upon the filing of the record with it, the jurisdiction of the court shall be exclusive and its judgment and decree shall be final, except that the same shall be subject to review by the Supreme Court of the United States, as provided in section 1254 of Title 28 .

(f) Compromise of penalties and assessments;  recovery;  use of funds recovered

Civil money penalties and assessments imposed under this section may be compromised by the Secretary and may be recovered in a civil action in the name of the United States brought in United States district court for the district where the claim was presented, or where the claimant resides, as determined by the Secretary.  Amounts recovered under this section shall be paid to the Secretary and disposed of as follows:

(1)(A)  In the case of amounts recovered arising out of a claim under subchapter XIX of this chapter, there shall be paid to the State agency an amount bearing the same proportion to the total amount recovered as the State's share of the amount paid by the State agency for such claim bears to the total amount paid for such claim.

(B)  In the case of amounts recovered arising out of a claim under an allotment to a State under subchapter V of this chapter, there shall be paid to the State agency an amount equal to three-sevenths of the amount recovered.

(2)  Such portion of the amounts recovered as is determined to have been paid out of the trust funds under sections 1395i and 1395t of this title shall be repaid to such trust funds.

(3)  With respect to amounts recovered arising out of a claim under a Federal health care program (as defined in section 1320a-7b(f) of this title), the portion of such amounts as is determined to have been paid by the program shall be repaid to the program, and the portion of such amounts attributable to the amounts recovered under this section by reason of the amendments made by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (as estimated by the Secretary) shall be deposited into the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund pursuant to section 1395i(k)(2)(C) of this title.

(4)  The remainder of the amounts recovered shall be deposited as miscellaneous receipts of the Treasury of the United States.

The amount of such penalty or assessment, when finally determined, or the amount agreed upon in compromise, may be deducted from any sum then or later owing by the United States or a State agency to the person against whom the penalty or assessment has been assessed.

(g) Finality of determination respecting penalty, assessment, or exclusion

A determination by the Secretary to impose a penalty, assessment, or exclusion under subsection (a) or (b) of this section shall be final upon the expiration of the sixty-day period referred to in subsection (e) of this section.  Matters that were raised or that could have been raised in a hearing before the Secretary or in an appeal pursuant to subsection (e) of this section may not be raised as a defense to a civil action by the United States to collect a penalty, assessment, or exclusion assessed under this section.

(h) Notification of appropriate entities of finality of determination

Whenever the Secretary's determination to impose a penalty, assessment, or exclusion under subsection (a) or (b) of this section becomes final, he shall notify the appropriate State or local medical or professional organization, the appropriate State agency or agencies administering or supervising the administration of State health care programs (as defined in section 1320a-7(h) of this title), and the appropriate utilization and quality control peer review organization, and the appropriate State or local licensing agency or organization (including the agency specified in section 1395aa(a) and 1396a(a)(33) of this title) that such a penalty, assessment, or exclusion has become final and the reasons therefor.

(i) Definitions

For the purposes of this section:

(1)  The term “State agency” means the agency established or designated to administer or supervise the administration of the State plan under subchapter XIX of this chapter or designated to administer the State's program under subchapter V of this chapter or division A of subchapter XX of this chapter.

(2)  The term “claim” means an application for payments for items and services under a Federal health care program (as defined in section 1320a-7b(f) of this title).

(3)  The term “item or service” includes (A) any particular item, device, medical supply, or service claimed to have been provided to a patient and listed in an itemized claim for payment, and (B) in the case of a claim based on costs, any entry in the cost report, books of account or other documents supporting such claim.

(4)  The term “agency of the United States” includes any contractor acting as a fiscal intermediary, carrier, or fiscal agent or any other claims processing agent for a Federal health care program (as so defined).

(5)  The term “beneficiary” means an individual who is eligible to receive items or services for which payment may be made under a Federal health care program (as so defined) but does not include a provider, supplier, or practitioner.

(6)  The term “remuneration” includes the waiver of coinsurance and deductible amounts (or any part thereof), and transfers of items or services for free or for other than fair market value.  The term “remuneration” does not include--

(A)  the waiver of coinsurance and deductible amounts by a person, if--

(i)  the waiver is not offered as part of any advertisement or solicitation;

(ii)  the person does not routinely waive coinsurance or deductible amounts;  and

(iii)  the person--

(I)  waives the coinsurance and deductible amounts after determining in good faith that the individual is in financial need;  or

(II)  fails to collect coinsurance or deductible amounts after making reasonable collection efforts;

(B)  subject to subsection (n) of this section, any permissible practice described in any subparagraph of section 1320a-7b(b)(3) of this title or in regulations issued by the Secretary;

(C)  differentials in coinsurance and deductible amounts as part of a benefit plan design as long as the differentials have been disclosed in writing to all beneficiaries, third party payers, and providers, to whom claims are presented and as long as the differentials meet the standards as defined in regulations promulgated by the Secretary not later than 180 days after August 21, 1996;

(D)  incentives given to individuals to promote the delivery of preventive care as determined by the Secretary in regulations so promulgated;

(E)  a reduction in the copayment amount for covered OPD services under section 1395l(t)(5)(B) of this title;  or  [FN13]

(F)  any other remuneration which promotes access to care and poses a low risk of harm to patients and Federal health care programs (as defined in section 1320a-7b(f) of this title and designated by the Secretary under regulations);

(G)  the offer or transfer of items or services for free or less than fair market value by a person, if--

(i)  the items or services consist of coupons, rebates, or other rewards from a retailer;

(ii)  the items or services are offered or transferred on equal terms available to the general public, regardless of health insurance status;  and

(iii)  the offer or transfer of the items or services is not tied to the provision of other items or services reimbursed in whole or in part by the program under subchapter XVIII of this chapter or a State health care program (as defined in section 1320a-7(h) of this title);

(H)  the offer or transfer of items or services for free or less than fair market value by a person, if--

(i)  the items or services are not offered as part of any advertisement or solicitation;

(ii)  the items or services are not tied to the provision of other services reimbursed in whole or in part by the program under subchapter XVIII of this chapter or a State health care program (as so defined);

(iii)  there is a reasonable connection between the items or services and the medical care of the individual;  and

(iv)  the person provides the items or services after determining in good faith that the individual is in financial need;  or

(I)  effective on a date specified by the Secretary (but not earlier than January 1, 2011), the waiver by a PDP sponsor of a prescription drug plan under part D of subchapter XVIII of this chapter or an MA organization offering an MA-PD plan under part C of such subchapter of any copayment for the first fill of a covered part D drug (as defined in section 1395w-102(e) of this title) that is a generic drug for individuals enrolled in the prescription drug plan or MA-PD plan, respectively.

(7)  The term “should know” means that a person, with respect to information--

(A)  acts in deliberate ignorance of the truth or falsity of the information;  or

(B)  acts in reckless disregard of the truth or falsity of the information,

and no proof of specific intent to defraud is required.

(j) Subpoenas

(1)  The provisions of subsections (d) and (e) of section 405 of this title shall apply with respect to this section to the same extent as they are applicable with respect to subchapter II of this chapter.  The Secretary may delegate the authority granted by section 405(d) of this title (as made applicable to this section) to the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services for purposes of any investigation under this section.

(2)  The Secretary may delegate authority granted under this section and under section 1320a-7 of this title to the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services.

(k) Injunctions

Whenever the Secretary has reason to believe that any person has engaged, is engaging, or is about to engage in any activity which makes the person subject to a civil monetary penalty under this section, the Secretary may bring an action in an appropriate district court of the United States (or, if applicable, a United States court of any territory) to enjoin such activity, or to enjoin the person from concealing, removing, encumbering, or disposing of assets which may be required in order to pay a civil monetary penalty if any such penalty were to be imposed or to seek other appropriate relief.

(l) Liability of principal for acts of agent

A principal is liable for penalties, assessments, and an exclusion under this section for the actions of the principal's agent acting within the scope of the agency.

(m) Claims within jurisdiction of other departments or agencies

(1)  For purposes of this section, with respect to a Federal health care program not contained in this chapter, references to the Secretary in this section shall be deemed to be references to the Secretary or Administrator of the department or agency with jurisdiction over such program and references to the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services in this section shall be deemed to be references to the Inspector General of the applicable department or agency.

(2)(A)  The Secretary and Administrator of the departments and agencies referred to in paragraph (1) may include in any action pursuant to this section, claims within the jurisdiction of other Federal departments or agencies as long as the following conditions are satisfied:

(i)  The case involves primarily claims submitted to the Federal health care programs of the department or agency initiating the action.

(ii)  The Secretary or Administrator of the department or agency initiating the action gives notice and an opportunity to participate in the investigation to the Inspector General of the department or agency with primary jurisdiction over the Federal health care programs to which the claims were submitted.

(B)  If the conditions specified in subparagraph (A) are fulfilled, the Inspector General of the department or agency initiating the action is authorized to exercise all powers granted under the Inspector General Act of 1978 (5 U.S.C. App.) with respect to the claims submitted to the other departments or agencies to the same manner and extent as provided in that Act with respect to claims submitted to such departments or agencies.

(n) Safe harbor for payment of medigap premiums

(1)  Subparagraph (B) of subsection (i)(6) shall not apply to a practice described in paragraph (2) unless--

(A)  the Secretary, through the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services, promulgates a rule authorizing such a practice as an exception to remuneration;  and

(B)  the remuneration is offered or transferred by a person under such rule during the 2-year period beginning on the date the rule is first promulgated.

(2)  A practice described in this paragraph is a practice under which a health care provider or facility pays, in whole or in part, premiums for medicare supplemental policies for individuals entitled to benefits under part A of subchapter XVIII of this chapter [ 42 U.S.C.A. § 1395c et seq. ] pursuant to section 426-1 of this title.

1 So in original.  Probably should be “law, or”.
2 So in original.  Two pars. (8) have been enacted.
3 So in original.  The word “or” probably should not appear.
4 So in original.  Two pars. (9) have been enacted.
5 So in original.  Probably should be followed by “or”’.
6 So in original.  The comma probably should be a semicolon.
7 So in original.  Probably is a reference to the first paragraph (8).
8 So in original.  The word “or” probably should not appear.
9 So in original.  Probably is a reference to the first paragraph (9).
10 So in original.  Probably should be “paragraph;”.
11 So in original.  Probably is a reference to the second paragraph (9).
12 So in original.  Probably should be “court”.
13 So in original.  The word “or” probably should not appear.

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