European Healthcare Fraud & Corruption Network (EHFCN)

European Healthcare Fraud & Corruption Network (EHFCN)

October 07, 2009 11:54 ET

EHFCN Conference Calls Upon Stronger Cooperation Between Member States to Tackle Healthcare Fraud and Corruption

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND--(Marketwire - Oct. 7, 2009) - Around 100 delegates from 16 countries representing Ministries of Health, sickness funds, healthcare providers and other parties committed today at the European Healthcare Fraud and Corruption Network (EHFCN)'s Annual Conference to strengthen co-operation in their fight against healthcare fraud and corruption.

Centered on the theme of Cross-Border Healthcare in Europe, the conference discussed possible consequences of the draft EU directive 2005/36/EC giving patients and practitioners the right to free movement throughout Members States.

"Although EHFCN supports patients and healthcare providers' mobility, we also warn decision-makers of the risks of increased fraud and corruption in this sector" said Paul Vincke, President of EHFCN. "We call on them that provision is made to reduce losses to a minimum; we also look forward to implementing solutions that were advanced at the conference".

Cooperation between member states and between healthcare parties was perceived a key to successfully tackling cross-border fraud and corruption. Sharing information is vital and can be started on a small scale between members in neighbour countries.

An example is the bilateral cooperation agreement between the French health insurance fund for salaried employees (CNAMTS) and the Belgian National institute of disability and health insurance (INAMI/RIZIV). The main purpose of this agreement is to facilitate the quick exchange of files and information in order to improve research and investigation. The agreement will be signed on 21st October and take effect as of 2010.

An important tool to assess risk and outline issues and contributing factors affecting fraud was presented by members of the EHFCN Cross-Border Fraud Working Group. The so-called matrix is designed to identify the most important obstacles that member states are likely to encounter in their work of prevention, detection and sanctioning of fraud. It is particularly intended to be used in a cross-border context, taking into account that Member States have different healthcare and legal systems.

The matrix helps to concretely analyse the types of fraud that can derive from specific risk factors such as legal loopholes or lack of access to information or treatment, for every party involved (governments, practitioners, patients, etc).

Throughout the conference, representatives shared their experience and best practices in tackling fraud and corruption. EHFCN also took this opportunity to confer its first Excellence Award to Ms Ewa Kopacz, Minister of Health of the Republic of Poland, where tangible progress has been made towards an anti-fraud and anti-corruption culture within the Polish healthcare system, thanks to Ms Kopacz' continued efforts and determination.

"At least 30 billion EUR and probably as much as 100 billion EUR are lost to fraud and corruption in the healthcare sector every year", added Paul Vincke. "Let's eliminate fraud together, for the benefit of healthcare systems in Europe and the ultimate benefit of every patient".

Note to editors

The European Healthcare Fraud and Corruption Network (EHFCN) - Established in 2005, EHFCN is the only European organisation dedicated to combating healthcare fraud and corruption across Europe in order to bring back money to healthcare services for the benefit of every patient. EHFCN provides information, tools, training and assistance in fighting fraud and corruption to its member associations. It also offers a platform for members to exchange information and ideas. Further information can be found at www.ehfcn.org.

The matrix proposed by the Cross-Border Fraud Working Group is based on the Enterprise Risk Management-Integrated Framework (COSO ERM Framework). The framework provides a solid foundation which can be used by companies to enhance corporate governance and deliver greater stakeholder value.

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