On February 1, 2022, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the DOJ Civil Division, Brian M. Boynton, announced that the Civil Division recovered over $5.6 billion in settlements and judgments under the False Claims Act (“FCA”) for fiscal year 2021. This is the second largest annual total in FCA history and a significant increase from the $2.2 billion recovered during fiscal year 2020. Detailed statistics on FCA recoveries from 1986 through FY 2021 are available here.
A few observations on the latest statistics:
- More than $5 billion of the total recovery (almost 90%) is attributable to cases involving fraud in the healthcare industry. This continues a trend from recent years of FCA recoveries being dominated by the healthcare and life sciences industries.
- More than half of the healthcare-related recoveries in FY 2021 stemmed from the government’s pursuit of opioid-related claims. DOJ also prioritized investigations related to the Medicare Advantage program and claims that plans and healthcare providers made patients appear sicker than they actually were.
- More than $1.6 billion of the total recovery came from qui tam lawsuits filed by whistleblowers. This is a much lower portion of the total recovery than in recent years.
- Despite the increase in recoveries, the number of new matters, including qui tams, declined compared to FY 2020 by 14% — though 2020 was a record year for DOJ-initiated actions, and the number of DOJ-initiated actions in FY2021 was still second highest (second only to 2020).
- The percentage of suits initiated by DOJ continues to be lower in healthcare fraud matters than in other kinds of qui tams. Only 20% of FCA suits in the healthcare context are DOJ-initiated.
- DOJ settlements and judgments in DOJ-initiated cases hit an all-time high.