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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 447-03
June 24, 2003

DoD Announces 2003 National Health Care Fraud Conference

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs William Winkenwerder Jr. announced that the TRICARE Management Activity will host the 2003 National Health Care Fraud Conference in San Francisco, Calif., from June 25 to June 27. The 2003 conference objectives include raising awareness of how healthcare fraud impacts taxpayers, federal healthcare programs, private sector plans and beneficiaries and emphasizing how working together can make a difference.

TRICARE continues to get tough on healthcare fraud and abuse offenders. In cooperation with investigative agencies and the Department of Justice, TRICARE helped return $2.3 million to DoD in Fiscal Year 2002. The dollars came from convictions of and settlement agreements with those involved in fraud and abuse practices against the TRICARE program.

"Providing quality healthcare to our beneficiaries -- over 8 million individuals -- is important; aggressively investigating and prosecuting healthcare fraud is an essential element in ensuring quality. Our battle against fraud and abuse reassures our patients that we will do everything possible to protect them from unethical or criminal providers," said Winkenwerder.

"Experience has shown that in order to successfully address the fraud and abuse problem, teamwork is vital, said Winkenwerder. "TRICARE works closely with its contractors, law enforcement, the Department of Justice, and others in the public and private sectors."

An indispensable weapon in fighting healthcare fraud and abuse is information sharing. Part of TRICARE’s strategy includes hosting periodic National Health Care Fraud Conferences such as the one held in 2001 under the theme "Becoming a Leader in Health Care Fraud Detection." Over 180 attendees benefited from the exchange of ideas and contacts made during this conference. For the 2003 National Health Care Fraud Conference the theme, Maintaining Quality and Excellence in Health Care Fraud Detection, builds on the previous conference.

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