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Tracking Medicaid Fraud: HHS OIG Releases MFCU Annual Report

Posted  04/2/20
Human Health Services Office of Inspector General Logo
The HHS OIG recently released the Medicaid Fraud Control Units (MFCUs) Fiscal Year 2019 Annual Report, providing a consolidated accounting of the program’s success. MFCUs investigate and prosecute Medicaid fraud and patient abuse or neglect. MFCUs receive referrals from other agencies, the public, or via data mining with OIG approval. The referral is reviewed, an investigation is conducted, and the decision is...

Catch of the Week: Osteo Relief Institutes, Pedaling Dubious Treatment for Arthritis, Tagged for Charging Medicare for Medically Unnecessary Services

Posted  10/25/19
x-ray of a knee
On October 18, 2019, the Department of Justice announced a settlement with arthritis treatment provider Osteo Relief Institutes and seven of its locations in Phoenix, Arizona; San Diego, California; Lexington, Kentucky; Wall Township, New Jersey; Dallas, Texas; San Antonio, Texas; and, Colorado Springs, Colorado.  According to the DOJ press release, the ORI entities, together with their principals, will collectively...

Catch of the Week: Texas Hospital Exec Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for Medicare Fraud

Posted  09/18/19
On Monday, a federal judge in Houston sentenced Starsky Bomer, the former CFO and COO of Atrium Medical Center and Pristine Healthcare, to ten years in prison for his role in a Medicare fraud scheme that bilked the government of $16m.  Bomer was convicted by a jury in October of last year.  His co-conspirator, Dr. Sohail R. Siddiqui, took a plea deal in 2017 and is serving five years in prison. Bomer will do time...

Catch of the Week – South Florida Health Care Facility Owner Sentenced to 20 Years in $1.3 Billion Fraud - The Largest Health Care Fraud Scheme Ever Charged by the DOJ

Posted  09/13/19
Philip Esformes, 50, of Miami Beach, Florida, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his role in a decades-long billion-dollar scheme to submit fraudulent claims to Medicare and Medicaid both for services deemed medically unnecessary and services that were medically necessary but that he did not provide.  Esformes personally pocketed $37 million from this scheme to fund his lavish lifestyle, while leaving elderly...

Question of the Week — Is the use of public nuisance law against J&J for its role in the opioid crisis appropriate?

Posted  08/29/19
The landmark $572M opioid verdict in Oklahoma against Johnson & Johnson stemmed from a single claim: “public nuisance” under state law.  Other cases against opioid manufacturers, including whistleblower cases, involve claims for fraud, unlawful marketing, improper prescriptions, kickbacks, violating the Controlled Substances Act by failing to report suspicious purchases, and even flooding the black market.  But...

Catch of the Week — Comprehensive Pain Specialists Targeted for Urine Drug Testing Fraud

Posted  07/26/19
Laboratory sample vial lying on procedure coding form
Our Catch of the Week goes to Comprehensive Pain Specialists (CPS), a now-shuttered pain-management chain that was once one of the largest in the nation, treating as many as 48,000 pain patients a month at about 60 clinics across 11 states.  CPS shut down in 2018 with little warning to patients and employees. On Monday, July 22, the United States and the State of Tennessee announced their partial intervention in...

DOJ Catch of the Week — Dr. Joseph Galichia

Posted  05/31/19
Paper Ripped Uncovering Medical Necessity Wording
This week's DOJ Catch of the Week goes to Kansas cardiologist Joseph Galichia. Yesterday, he agreed to pay $5.8 million to resolve allegations that he and his company, Galichia Medical Group, violated the False Claims Act by billing federal health care programs for medically unnecessary cardiac stent procedures. This is the government's third False Claims Act settlement with Dr. Galichia. Which may explain why he also...

Intermountain Settles Dispute Pending Before Supreme Court, Leaving 9(b) Ambiguity Unresolved

Posted  05/24/19
Doctor Holding Heart in Palms
Earlier this month, a Utah-based hospital chain announced it would settle whistleblower Dr. Gerald Polukoff’s case alleging the hospital performed unnecessary heart surgeries on Medicare patients, thereby overcharging the federal government in violation of the False Claims Act (FCA). Defendant Intermountain Health, the largest healthcare provider in the Intermountain West, had petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to...

Question of the Week — Should the CEO Be Held Accountable?: Lessons from the Insys verdict.

Posted  05/10/19
Handcuffed business-leader walking through jail.
In a shocking first, a federal jury has convicted an opioid-company CEO and other top executives of a criminal racketeering conspiracy. Insys founder and chairman John Kapoor and four other executives bribed doctors to overprescribe a highly addictive fentanyl painkiller, and ran a phony call-center to defraud insurance companies into paying for the expensive drug. Although the company itself had already paid over...

Baltimore-Area Hospital Chain Pays $35M to Settle Kickback Claims

Posted  03/28/19
Man Holding a Heart
MedStar Health, a health system in Maryland and Washington, DC, and two of its hospitals have settled allegations that they violated the False Claims Act by violating the Anti-Kickback Statute. The settlement is not a determination of liability. It settles specific allegations that MedStar paid kickbacks to MidAtlantic Cardiovascular Associates, a cardiology group based in Maryland, in exchange for...