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Home Health and Hospice

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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

September 27, 2018

Millicent Traylor, M.D., of Detroit, Michigan was sentenced to over 11 years in prison today for her part in a health care scheme against Medicare from 2011 to 2016. Traylor and her co-conspirators defrauded Medicare of an estimated $8.9 million during that period. They submitted fraudulent claims for home health care services and other services which were not provided or not medically necessary. At times, the physician services which were provided were provided by Dr. Traylor, though she was unlicensed during that period. Furthermore, evidence presented during the four-day trial showed that Traylor forged the signature of licensed physicians on prescriptions for opioid medications, oxycodone for instance, as a way to encourage patient participation in the scheme. Traylor’s three co-conspirators will also serve time in prison.  DOJ  

September 25, 2018

Six individuals in the New Orleans area - four physicians, a medical biller, and a medical office manager - were sentenced after having been found guilty of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and to pay and receive unlawful kickbacks.   The defendants fraudulently billed Medicare for medically unnecessary home health services for patients who were not homebound and had no legitimate medical need for the services, creating false and fraudulent home health orders.   USAO E.D. La.

September 19, 2018

A physician and two clinic operators were convicted after trial for charges arising from a $17 million Medicare fraud scheme.  The doctor, John Ramirez, provided medical orders falsely certifying the need for home-health services, which the other defendants then sold to to home-health agencies in the Houston, Texas area.  These agencies then used the false and fraudulent paperwork signed by Ramirez to submit false claims to Medicare for medical services that were not medically necessary or not provided.  DOJ

August 10, 2018

An Illinois personal assistant, Betsy Gutowski, has pleaded guilty to filing fraudulent Medicaid reimbursement claims for work purportedly performed for a client under the Home Services Program, which is designed to keep clients out of nursing homes and in their own homes. At the time of the fraud, which spanned the year 2012, the client was in fact hospitalized or living in a nursing home, yet Gutowski billed for and received payments totaling $4,036.73. She now faces a possible maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. USAO SDIL

July 31, 2018

Compassionate Home Care Services, Inc., its owner Carol Anders, and her son Ryan Santiago will pay a $3 million judgment for violating the federal and North Carolina False Claims Acts by filing reimbursement claims for services not rendered or rendered by unlicensed aides and family members. Anders and Santiago were also found to have falsified documents to conceal evidence of fraud upon being investigated by the government. USAO EDNC
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