TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The prospect of higher civil penalties is encouraging to Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, who on Tuesday praised the recently passed False Claims Act.
The piece of legislation allows McCollum's Medicaid Fraud Control Act to recover triple damages in civil lawsuits against those who commit Medicaid fraud.
"Those who exploit and defraud our Medicaid program steal critical health care dollars from those who desperately need these services," McCollum said. "Once signed into law, this legislation will not only strengthen our enforcement tools but more importantly will return millions of dollars in Medicaid resources to the elderly, the disadvantaged and others in need."
In 2005, the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit secured more than $76 million in settlements, McCollum said.
"I commend the Legislature for passing this important legislation which will assist our state combat Medicaid fraud and punish those who selfishly cheat the system," McCollum said.
Rep. Clay Ford and Sen. Steve Oelrich, both Republicans, sponsored the bill.
"By increasing the penalties against those who commit Medicaid fraud, we are sending a strong message that we will not tolerate the theft of Medicaid dollars from Floridians who need health care," Oelrich said.