Transcript for audio podcast: OIG Outlook 2014: Deputy IG for Investigations, Gary Cantrell
From the Office of Inspector General of Department of Health and Human Services
[Roberta Baskin] With me now is Gary Cantrell. Gary is the Deputy Inspector General for the Office of Investigations, the top cop in OIG's law enforcement efforts; thank you Gary.
[Gary Cantrell] Thank you.
[Roberta Baskin] Just broadly speaking talk a little bit about the enforcement work that you have done and what's coming up in the year ahead.
[Gary Cantrell] Well, in the Office of Investigations our primary mission is to investigate and detect fraud against HHS programs. Primarily that relates to Medicare and Medicaid fraud. And our greatest resource in that fight against fraud, are our people. We have over 600 dedicated, resourceful men and women who are expert in this area of investigating fraud related to HHS programs.
[Roberta Baskin] Well, data analytics also is playing a bigger role along with the people skills that you have with your special agents. Talk a little bit about how the data analysis works and how it's become a bigger part of your work.
[Gary Cantrell] Data analytics has become a growing part of our work. It's always been a part of our work but even more today. We use data analytics to allocate our resources. So we identify where fraud hotspots exist geographically and we locate our resources to have a higher impact with our investigations.
[Roberta Baskin] Can you talk about a particular case recently where data analytics is what made it a success?
[Gary Cantrell] Sure. Data analytics also helps us in our investigations, and in a recent example in south Florida, we had a case where through the use of data we were able to identify over a million and a half dollars which had been submitted to the Medicare system (within a month of a fraudulent provider whose intent was only to commit fraud and never provide a service) and stop those payments from going out the door. So, while we continued to investigate this case, the payments had been stopped and we ended up arresting four people within two months.
[Roberta Baskin] Well, south Florida is where the strike force model was first tried out, and it's now spread across the country. Talk a little bit about how the strike force model works.
[Gary Cantrell] Well, the strike force model is a model that was developed in Miami and we have a team of individuals from OIG, the FBI, working with prosecutors from the Department of Justice; a team approach to investigating health care fraud. And then increased emphasis on the use of data to further these investigations more quickly than we did historically.
[Robert Baskin] Well, dozens of criminals steal millions of dollars and then flee the country and become fugitives. When that happens what do you do?
[Gary Cantrell] Well, unfortunately that's correct. Some of the individuals think they can get out of jail free by leaving the country. Unfortunately for them, we have a global reach and through our partners such as Interpol, we are able to locate and apprehend these individuals and bring them to justice back in the United States.
[Roberta Baskin] What about the OIG's Most Wanted website. What role does that play?
[Gary Cantrell] The OIG Most Wanted Fugitive site is great for us in alerting the public to the issues related to health care fraud. They can visit this site, see our 10 Most Wanted, and if they know anything about these individuals they can contact us to alert us to their location and help us apprehend them.
[Robert Baskin] Well, the headlines are made with Medicare and Medicaid. That's what we hear about the most. But what are some other arenas where you're doing detective work?
[Gary Cantrell] We're also very active in the child support enforcement arena. If a deadbeat parent fails to pay their child support obligations and leaves the state to avoid paying, it becomes a Federal case and we get involved. We also are very interested in the grants that the Department of Health and Human Services issues and fraud within those areas. HHS is the largest grant-making organization in the Federal government. So, there's lots of opportunity there for our work.
[Roberta Baskin] What kind of impact do you think the enforcement work is having on health care fraud?
[Gary Cantrell] I think we're having a tremendous impact. For every dollar invested in our anti-fraud efforts along with our partners, seven dollars is returned to the Medicare Trust Fund.
[Roberta Baskin] Gary Cantrell, thank you for giving us a glimpse of what you're going to be doing in the year ahead.
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Priority recommendations summarized.
FY 2016 Work Plan
OIG projects planned for 2016.
Significant OIG activities in 6-month increments.