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Healthcare Fraud

This archive displays posts tagged as relevant to healthcare fraud.

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Page 92 of 107

January 14, 2016

Nery Cowan, a consultant and Medicare biller for Greater Miami Behavioral Healthcare Center Inc., pleaded guilty in connection with a $63 million health care fraud and money laundering scheme.  Behavioral Healthcare is a now-defunct Miami-area partial hospitalization program (PHP) that purported to provide intensive treatment for severe mental illness.  Specifically, Cowan directed the payment of kickbacks to patient brokers and others in exchange for Medicare beneficiary referrals and admitted concealing the kickback payments to shell companies owned by “patient brokers” who, on behalf of Greater Miami, solicited Medicare beneficiaries from assisted living facilities, halfway houses and drug courts located throughout the Southern District of Florida.  Cowan and her co-conspirators disguised these monthly kickbacks as “outreach” or “marketing” payments through HNB-Stell Care Inc., a sham staffing company.  DOJ

January 12, 2016

Kentucky-based healthcare provider Kindred Healthcare, Inc. and its two RehabCare Group subsidiaries agreed to pay $125 million to resolve allegations of violating the False Claims Act by knowingly causing skilled nursing facilities to submit false claims to Medicare for rehabilitation therapy services that were not reasonable, necessary and skilled, or that never occurred at all.  According to the government, RehabCare’s policy has been to achieve the highest Medicare reimbursement level regardless of the clinical needs of its patients, resulting in the provision of unreasonable and unnecessary services to Medicare patients, and its skilled nursing facility customers submitting inflated bills to Medicare covering those services.  The allegations originated in a whistleblower lawsuit filed by Janet Halpin, a RehabCare physical therapist and former rehabilitation manager, and Shawn Fahey, a RehabCare occupational therapist, under the qui tamprovisions of the False Claims Act.  They will receive a whistleblower award of nearly $24 million from the government proceeds of the settlement.  Whistleblower Insider

January 12, 2016

Connecticut-based J&L Medical Services agreed to pay $600,000 to resolve allegations it violated the federal and state False Claims Acts.  J&L Medical is a durable medical equipment company that provides Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) and Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP) devices and accessories to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries who have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea.  According to the government, the company regularly used the services of unlicensed technicians to provide respiratory therapy services to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, including setting up CPAP and BiPAP machines, fitting the patients with the masks used with those machines, and educating the patients about the use of the machines.  The allegations originated in a whistleblower lawsuit filed by John Hart, a former employee of J&L Medical and a licensed respiratory therapist, under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act.  He will receive a whistleblower award of $102,000 from the proceeds of the government’s recovery.  DOJ (CT)

January 8, 2016

Dr. David G. Bostwick, owner of Virginia-based pathology lab Bostwick Laboratories Inc., agreed to pay up to $3.75 million to resolve charges of violating the False Claims Act for billing Medicare and Medicaid for medically unnecessary cancer detection tests and offering incentives to physicians to obtain Medicare and Medicaid business.  Specifically, Dr. Bostwick allegedly directed Bostwick Laboratories to bill Medicare and Medicaid for expensive cancer detection tests known as Fluorescent In Situ Hybridization (FISH) tests, as well as other tests, that were not medically necessary and were performed without the treating physicians’ consent or order.  FISH tests are used to detect bladder cancer.  Bostwick also allegedly offered various discounts and billing arrangements to treating physicians to induce them to refer business in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute.  On Aug. 28, 2014, Bostwick Laboratories previously agreed to pay over $6.5 million to resolve the allegations in this lawsuit.  The allegations were originally raised in a whistleblower lawsuit brought by Michael Daugherty, who works in the industry, under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act.  Daugherty will receive a whistleblower award of over $2.5 million from the government’s settlements.  DOJ

January 8, 2016

Damian Mayol, the president of Miami-based transportation company Transportation Services Providers Inc., was convicted for his role in a health care fraud scheme involving three mental health centers based in Miami that resulted in the submission of approximately $70 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare.  According to evidence presented at trial, Mayol used his company to coordinate the payment of illegal health care kickbacks to recruiters, who in return referred patients to three now-defunct clinics in the Miami area:  R&S Community Mental Health Inc., St. Theresa Community Mental Health Center Inc. and New Day Community Mental Health Center LLC.  On behalf of the recruited beneficiaries, the centers billed Medicare for costly partial hospitalization program services that were not medically necessary or not provided to patients.  DOJ

January 5, 2016

Nashville Pharmacy Services, LLC, and its majority owner Kevin Hartman, agreed to pay up to $7.8 million to settle charges they violated the False Claims Act by overbilling Medicare and TennCare for pharmacy services.  Specifically, the government claimed the Nashville-based pharmacy that specializes in dispensing HIV and AIDS-related medications automatically refilled medications without a request from the beneficiary or their physician; improperly waived TennCare and Medicare co-payments without an individualized assessment of ability to pay; improperly used pharmaceutical manufacturers’ co-payment cards to pay the co-payments of Medicare beneficiaries; billed for medications dispensed after the deaths of certain beneficiaries; and billed for medications that lacked a valid prescription.  The allegations originated in a whistleblower lawsuit filed by Marsha McCullough, a former Nashville Pharmacy order entry technician, under the qui tamprovisions of the False Claims Act.  She will receive a whistleblower award of 18 percent of the government’s recovery which could amount to $1.4 million.  Whistleblower Insider

January 4, 2016

Hovik Simitian, the former owner and operator of three medical clinics located in Los Angeles — Columbia Medical Group Inc., Life Care Medical Clinic and Safe Health Medical Clinic — was sentenced to 78 months in prison for his role in submitting more than $4.5 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare.  Simitian admitted paying illegal cash kickbacks to patient recruiters who brought Medicare beneficiaries to the clinics and for billing Medicare for lab tests and other services that were not medically necessary or actually provided, which he supported with false documentation.  DOJ

December 22, 2015

A physician’s assistant was sentenced to prison, and a doctor admitted taking bribes in connection with a long-running test referral scheme operated by New Jersey-based Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services LLC, its president and numerous associates.  Leonard Marchetta was sentenced to 42 months in prison and Bret Ostrager pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute and the Federal Travel Act by accepting bribes.  They are two of the 39 people – 26 of them doctors – who have pleaded guilty in connection with the bribery scheme, which have involved millions of dollars in bribes and resulted in more than $100 million in payments to BLS from Medicare and various private insurance companies.  It is believed to be the largest number of medical professionals ever prosecuted in a bribery case.  The investigation has to date recovered more than $12 million through forfeiture. DOJ (DNJ)

December 18, 2015

21st Century Oncology, a Florida-based provider of integrated cancer care services, agreed to pay $19.75 million to resolve allegations it violated the False Claims Act by billing federal health care programs for laboratory tests that were not medically necessary.  The tests involved were fluorescence in situ hybridization (or “FISH”) tests which are laboratory tests performed on urine that can detect genetic abnormalities associated with bladder cancer.  The government alleged that 21st Century submitted claims for unnecessary FISH tests that were ordered by four of its urologists, Dr. Meir Daller, Dr. Steven Paletsky, Dr. David Spellberg and Dr. Robert Scappa.  The government further alleged the company encouraged these physicians to order unnecessary FISH tests by offering bonuses that were based in part on the number of tests referred to 21st Century’s laboratory.  The allegations first arose in a whistleblower lawsuit filed by a former 21st Century medical assistant under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act.  The whistleblower will receive a whistleblower award of $3.2 million from the proceeds of the government’s recovery.  DOJ

December 18, 2015

Maryland-based splint supplier Dynasplint Systems Inc., and its founder and president, George Hepburn, agreed to pay roughly $10.3 million to resolve allegations they violated the False Claims Act by improperly billing Medicare for splints provided to patients in skilled nursing facilities.  According to the government, to circumvent Medicare rules which provide for bundled payment to these facilities that cover all of a patient’s needs, Hepburn and Dynasplint mispresented that patients were in their homes or other places that were not skilled nursing facilities.  The allegations first arose in a whistleblower lawsuit filed by former Dynasplint sales executive Meredith Deane under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act.  Ms. Deane will receive a whistleblower award of roughly $2 million from the proceeds of the government’s recovery.  DOJ
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