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U.S. Attorney in Philadelphia Calls on Hospitals and Providers to Help Fight COVID-19-Related Fraud

In a letter released Thursday, April 16, 2020, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania called on area hospitals, health systems, and other providers to join the government’s fight against COVID-19-related fraud. Hospitals, providers, and other health care institutions are on the front lines of the pandemic and know first-hand the challenges in obtaining critical supplies. They also are in a unique position to identify COVID-19-related fraud, such as offers to sell non-existent or fake equipment and price gouging of supplies.

The U.S. Attorney’s letter identifies 15 categories of critical health and medical supplies, including personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, and clinical-grade sanitizing and disinfecting devices and products, which the Secretary of Health and Human Services has designated as “scarce.” Hoarding these supplies and selling them at above-market prices can trigger both civil and criminal penalties. A complete list of designated supplies can be found here. The letter urges all hospitals, health care institutions, providers, and staff to report any suspected hoarding, price gouging, or other suspicious coronavirus-related schemes to the government. Stopping those engaged in illegal activity can help protect providers and patients, and help combat COVID-19.

The full version of U.S. Attorney William McSwain’s letter can be found here.

Post & Schell thanks all of those on the frontlines of combating this pandemic and stands ready to assist health care institutions, providers, and others who wish to report potential coronavirus-related fraud.

Disclaimer: This post does not offer specific legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. You should not reach any legal conclusions based on the information contained in this post without first seeking the advice of counsel.

Abraham J. Rein is a Principal in the Firm's Internal Investigations & White Collar Defense Group, Co-Chair of its Information Privacy & Security Group, and a member of the Firm's Diversity and Inclusion Committee. He focuses particularly on the intersection of technology and the law, advising clients on legal aspects of data security, social media compliance, electronic discovery, the application of certain constitutional rights in a digital era, and related topics.

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