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Home Health and Hospice

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February 1, 2019

Ali Jama, co-owner of Alpha Star Health Care Inc., was sentenced to 18 months in prison for health care fraud and tax fraud schemes against Medicare and Medicaid. Jama billed the government for services performed by unqualified individuals with criminal backgrounds who were prohibited from providing direct care. Jama also billed for services provided by untrained home health aides and provided false documents and false records for his taxes to reduce his company’s tax liability from approximately $680,000 to $81,000. Jama has been ordered to forfeit $300,000 and pay $392,000 in restitution to Medicaid. He must also pay the IRS $311,000 in restitution. DOJ

January 28, 2019

Norma Zayas, of Miami, was sentenced to 51 months in prison for her role in a $4.66 million health care fraud scheme involving several Miami-area home health agencies, including Sunshine Home Health Services Inc., Empire Home Health Agency Inc., Mildred & Marce Home Health Care Services Inc., and Nursing Care PRN Inc., which purported to provide home health services to Medicare patients. Zayas must also pay $4,658,241.00 in restitution and forfeit $186,650.50. Zayas admitted that from approximately January 2010 through approximately January 2014, she operated Sunshine, Empire, and Mildred & Marce Home Health and paid kickbacks to patient recruiters in return for the referral of Medicare beneficiaries, many of whom did not need or qualify for home health services. She also paid kickbacks to patient recruiters who referred Medicare beneficiaries to Nursing Care PRN. As a result of false and fraudulent claims submitted as part of this conspiracy, Medicare made payments of nearly $4.66 million. DOJ

Catch of the Week — Hospice Provider to Pay $6 Million to Settle False Claims Act Suit

Posted  12/21/18
SouthernCare, Inc., a hospice provider owned by Curo Health Services, has agreed to pay the federal government nearly $6 million dollars to settle a lawsuit alleging that the company defrauded Medicare by billing medically unnecessary hospice care. The fraud was unearthed by two whistleblowers formerly employed by the company, who filed suit under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, where they will share...

December 18, 2018

After submitting more than $3.5 million in false Medicare claims for home health services, John Dubor of Sugar Land, Texas, has been sentenced to nine years in prison and ordered to pay $3.5 million in restitution.  Through his company, Care Committers Health Services, Dubor paid marketers and group home owners for Medicare beneficiary information, then falsely billed Medicare and Medicaid for home health services for which the beneficiaries did not qualify, did not receive, or both.  Dubor himself would falsify patient assessment forms to make patients appear sicker, entitling him to higher reimbursement rates, and instructed his employees to falsify certifications and forge physician signatures.  USAO SDTX

December 14, 2018

Crossroads Hospice of Kansas has agreed to pay $300,000 for violating the Kansas False Claims Act. Under that law, once a healthcare provider is alerted to charges improperly submitted to the state's Medicaid program, it is obligated to refund the reimbursement in a timely manner or risk prosecution. In the case of Crossroads, the provider had failed to refund money paid on behalf of improperly certified beneficiaries. KS AG

November 27, 2018

Twelve individuals have been charged by a federal grand jury in a 22-count indictment related to a multi-year conspiracy to defraud the Pennsylvania Medicaid Home Care Program. The indictment lists a multitude of fraudulent acts by the defendants, alleging that they: submitted false claims for services that were not provided, misused consumers’ personal identifying information, provided false documentation during state audits, and even submitted claims to Medicaid for home care services for consumers who were hospitalized or no longer alive. Ten of the defendants reside in Western Pennsylvania, one is a resident of Georgia, and the twelfth defendant is a resident of South Carolina. Between January 2011 and April 2017, the conspirators, who owned and operated the home health care companies, received more than $87,000,000 in Medicaid payments.  The conspiracy and health care fraud charges each carry a maximum total sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both.  DOJ

November 5, 2018

A Michigan-based patient recruiter for home health care agencies was convicted, following trial, for her role in a scheme to bill Medicare for claims arising from illegal kickbacks. Together with co-conspiring home healthcare agencies, Sophia Eggleston defrauded Medicare of $1.1 million. The scheme, which was active for at least three years, involved Eggleston soliciting and receiving kickbacks in exchange for patient referrals to co-conspirator home health agency contacts, who then submitted Medicare claims for services purportedly provided to the referred patients. Eggleston faces sentencing in February. DOJ

October 16, 2018

Two doctors and three nurses were sentenced to prison for their roles in fraudulently billing Medicare $11 million through claims submitted by two companies—Timely Home Health Services Inc., a home health provider, and Boomer House Calls, a house call provider, both in the Dallas area. The scheme allegedly took place from 2007 to 2015 and involved falsifying records so it appeared that Medicare beneficiaries received home health services when in fact they did not. The five defendants will serve sentences ranging from as little as 6 months to as much as 10 years in prison. DOJ

October 12, 2018

The owner of a small chain of hospices has plead guilty to healthcare fraud in one of the largest hospice fraud cases ever to come out of Mississippi. Charline Brandon is alleged to have submitted fraudulent claims worth $11 million to Medicare and $2 million to Medicaid for services not rendered or needed, as well as illegally soliciting patients who were not eligible for hospice services. USAO NDMS

October 4, 2018

Mercy Ainabe of Houston, Texas, was sentenced to nine years in prison for her role in a $3.6 million home healthcare Medicare fraud scheme.  Ainabe served as a patient recruiter, selling patient information to home healthcare companies, including Texas Tender Care, which then submitted claims to Medicare for home health services that were not medically necessary, were not provided, or both. USAO SDTX
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