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DHH Chief Compliance Officer William Root Honored with HHS Career Achievement Award

Root honored for outstanding service during more than 26 years as a federal special agent

Friday, November 1, 2013  |  Contact: Media & Communications: Phone: 225.342.1532, E-mail: dhhinfo@la.gov

Baton Rouge, La. – Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) Chief Compliance Officer William Root was honored yesterday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for his dedicated service with the Career Achievement Award. Root retired from HHS earlier in 2013 as the Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Office of Investigations before joining DHH to head up the Louisiana Medicaid Program Integrity Office. 

“I am extremely proud of Bill’s work at the federal level,” said DHH Secretary Kathy Kliebert. “His efforts to identify and prevent Medicare fraud were keys to our decision to hire him. We have already received positive feedback in just the last six months from our program offices about the initiatives he has taken to identify areas of weakness and to help them develop ways to strengthen their systems to reduce occurrences of fraud before they can occur.”

The Career Achievement Award is given annually to five or fewer employees with 10 or more years at HHS for their dedication and loyalty to the Department; they must also have received an exceptional or equivalent performance rating within the last year before their nomination. 

Root, a Baton Rouge native, began his career as an investigator for the Louisiana Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, in which he worked with DHH to investigate several fraudulent schemes. For the last 26 years, Root served as a special agent for the federal government investigating transportation companies, physicians, hospitals, and various inpatient and outpatient healthcare providers.

In 2011, Root's Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT) strike team was recognized for claiming 31 indictments of 29 Baton Rouge-area defendants worth more than $35 million in just a few short months. In the latter part of 2011 through June 2012, Root's division of HEAT resulted in indictments regarding fraudulent Medicare schemes worth nearly $250 million.

Root currently oversees DHH's Program Integrity division, which is responsible for identifying fraud in the Medicaid system. Program Integrity investigates complaints, performs forensic claims investigations, reviews provider eligibility, as well as enrollment and disenrollment of providers, measures payment error rates, reviews claims processing and medical reviews.

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state citizens. To learn more about DHH, visit http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov. For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow DHH's blog, Twitter account and Facebook.