Health care fraud is of as much concern in Europe as in the U.S. That’s the message from the second annual European Healthcare Fraud and Corruption Conference. The European Healthcare Fraud and Corruption Network (EHFCN) brought together healthcare organizations and anti-fraud bodies, from all over Europe and the world for the conference held at the Radisson SAS Carlton Hotel in Bratislava, Slovakia on October 6-7.
Delegates elected the U.K.’s Jim Gee as the first Director General of the organization. He will be “responsible for implementing the network’s policies and its ultimate aim of reducing losses to fraud and corruption across Europe,” said the bulletin. Delegates also agreed that the first EHFCN headquarters will be based in Brussels and elected a President, two Vice Presidents and a Treasurer to the EHFCN Executive Committee.
“It’s a great honour to be chosen to lead this important area of work. It is especially humbling to be chosen by my peers,” Gee stated. “With the signing of the first EHFCN constitution, Europe has the opportunity to take a giant step in tackling the fraudster together. It is not something that will be done overnight but with estimations saying 16 billion euros [$19.4 billion] are lost every year to healthcare fraud in Europe, it is an area that needs to be tackled.”
Gee warned that not only would the organization be “looking at ways to stop the fraudster,” but will also be “lobbying Governments, healthcare providers and European institutions, such as the EU, for support. It is time for them to realise that this is a real problem and patients are not receiving the care they deserve because of it.”
EHFCN’s announcement noted that the adoption of the organization’s first constitution “followed hours of debate by delegates and commits the network to creating the first ever office dedicated to tackling fraud across Europe.” A 10-person office will be the heart of the network and will co-ordinate its work. EHFCN is a non-profit organization and “a centre of excellence.” Ultimately the office will investigate cases of healthcare fraud and corruption across Europe.
The bulletin noted that Gee “was appointed the first Director of the NHS [National Health Service] Counter Fraud Service in 1998 and has led work to counter fraud in the NHS since that time. He has over 20 years’ experience as a counter fraud specialist and has led organisations to tackle fraud across both local and central government, as well as advising the House of Commons Social Security Select Committee and the Minister of State for Welfare Reform. He is also Vice-Chair of the Counter Fraud Professional Accreditation Board.”
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