The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is once again applying an inflation increase to maximum civil monetary penalty (CMP) amounts for HHS agencies and programs – less than five months after the last inflation hike and notwithstanding the Trump Administration’s recently-announced regulatory freeze. Specifically, in a final rule to be published on February 3, 2017, HHS is applying a 1.01636 inflation “multiplier” to CMPs pursuant to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvement Act of 2015. For instance, the penalty for submitting or causing to be submitted claims in violation of the Stark Law’s restrictions on physician self-referrals is being increased from $23,863 to $24,253 (the penalty had been $15,000 prior to a September 6, 2016 inflation update). The adjusted CMP amounts apply to CMPs assessed on or after February 3, 2017, when the associated violation occurred after November 2, 2015 (the date of enactment of the 2015 law).
The Department of Justice (DOJ) also is making corresponding inflation updates to its CMPs, reflecting a 1.01636 inflation update to the CMP levels in effect since August 1, 2016. For instance, the new maximum CMP for False Claims Act violations under 31 U.S.C. 3729(a) is $21,916, compared to the $21,563 level set in August. The DOJ’s adjusted CMPs are applicable only to CMPs assessed after February 3, 2017, when the violation occurred after November 2, 2015.