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Improper Medical Personnel

This archive displays posts tagged as relevant to healthcare billings for unlicensed, unsupervised, or otherwise improper personnel. You may also be interested in our pages:

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March 9, 2016

Florida arrested a couple for defrauding the Medicaid program out of more than $180,000 in fraudulent claims. Oscar Alzate, 48, and Alba Garcia, 48, owners of Digital Radiology Center, Inc. and Medisound, Inc., allegedly operated a clinic without the appropriate licensure or proper oversight by a physician as required by Florida law. The investigation revealed that Alzate and his partner Garcia, neither who are physicians, billed the Medicaid program for services never rendered. The clinic owners also allegedly forged physicians’ signatures on medical reports and provided defective mammography services. FL

In Their Own Words — Rodriguez

Posted  02/25/16

-- “PUBLIC HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAMS, LIKE MEDICARE, ARE NOT A PERSONAL POCKETBOOK FOR CRIMINALS SEEKING TO EXPLOIT A PROGRAM DESIGNED TO HELP.”

Diego Rodriguez, the FBI’s assistant director-in-charge, commenting on a $4 million Medicare fraud scheme involving unlicensed massage therapists. Read the DOJ press release here.

February 12, 2016

New Jersey Doctor Labib E. Riachi and two companies he owns, Riachi, Inc. and Center for Advanced Pelvic Surgery, agreed to pay $5.25 million to resolve allegations they violated the False Claims Act by billing Medicare and Medicaid for anorectal manometry and electromyography diagnostic tests, even though most of the tests were never performed.  The settlement also resolves charges that they submitted claims to Medicare for physical therapy services that should not have been paid because they were not performed by a qualified therapist.  DOJ (NJ)

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)

December 1, 2015

Wisconsin-based Pharmasan Labs, Inc., its related billing company NeuroScience, Inc. and their founders, Gottfried and Mieke Kellermann, agreed to pay $8.5 million to resolve charges they violated the False Claims Act by (i) submitting false information for laboratory services, and (ii) violating Medicare rules for services referred by non-physician practitioners.  According to the government, and as admitted by Pharmasan under the settlement, Pharmasan falsely billed Medicare for ineligible food sensitivity testing; knew Medicare prohibited payment for such testing; and submitted false information to Medicare to disguise the type of test it was performing so Medicare would cover it.  Pharmasan also admitted violating Medicare billing rules which bar payment for lab services referred by non-physicians.  The government investigation leading to the settlement originated from a whistleblower action filed under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act.  The whistleblower will receive a whistleblower award of roughly $1.1 million from the government’s recovery.  Whistleblower Insider

November 19, 2015

Detroit-area physician Dr. Hicham A. Elhorr was sentenced to 72 months in prison and to pay roughly $2 million in restitution for directing a multi-million dollar Medicare fraud scheme through his medical practice.  According to admissions in his plea agreement, Elhorr employed unlicensed individuals through his visiting physician practice, House Calls Physicians PLLC, who held themselves out as licensed physicians and purported to provide physician home visits and other services to Medicare beneficiaries in Michigan.  The unlicensed individuals prepared medical documentation that Elhorr and other licensed physicians signed as if they had performed the visits when, in fact, no licensed physicians had treated the beneficiaries. DOJ

October 26, 2015

Valentina Kovalienko, the owner of two Brooklyn medical clinics, pleaded guilty to, and agreed to forfeit almost $30 million for, her role in a $55 million health care fraud and money laundering conspiracy.  According to her admissions, from approximately February 2008 to February 2011, Kovalienko and others executed a scheme in which patients were paid cash kickbacks to subject themselves to medically unnecessary physical and occupational therapy, diagnostic tests and office visits that were not performed by licensed professionals, and for which the clinics billed Medicare and Medicaid.  Kovalienko also admitted that to support the fraudulent claims she paid occupational and physical therapists to falsify patient charts and billing records.  DOJ

June 29, 2015

John Muir Health agreed to pay $550,000 to resolve allegations it submitted false claims for Medicare reimbursement by failing to have physicians adequately supervise the delivery of radiation therapy services.  The allegations originated in a whistleblower lawsuit filed by a former John Muir Health employee under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act.  She will receive a whistleblower award of $110,000 as her share of the government’s recovery.  DOJ

June 5, 2015

Atlanta-based dental practice Dennis B. Jaffe D.M.D., P.C. and its principal Dennis Jaffe agreed to pay $324,327.05 to settle charges they violated the False Claims Act by fraudulently billing Medicaid for tooth extraction procedures and for fraudulently billing for services rendered by a dental assistant when Jaffe was not present in the office. According to the government, Jaffe fraudulently sought payment from Medicaid for higher and more expensive levels of service than were actually performed, a practice commonly referred to as “upcoding.”  The allegations first arose in a whistleblower lawsuit filed by Michelle Smith under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act.  DOJ

June 1, 2015

A group of home health care companies collectively known as “Friendship” and the companies’ owner Theophilus Egbujor agreed to pay $6.5 million to resolve allegations they improperly billed TennCare, Medicare and TRICARE for home health services.  Specifically, the government claimed Friendship billed TennCare for private duty nursing services that were furnished or supervised by a woman who was excluded from billing federal and state health care programs and that Friendship submitted required forms to TennCare that contained the forged signature of Friendship’s Director of Nursing.  The specific entities included in the settlement agreement are Friendship Home Healthcare, Inc., which has also done business as Friendship HealthCare System; Friendship Home Health, Inc., and Angel Private Duty and Home Health, which have also done business as Friendship Private Duty; and Friendship Home Health Agency, LLC.  The allegations first arose in a whistleblower lawsuit filed by Kay Flippo, a licensed practical nurse who previously worked for Friendship Home Healthcare, under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act.  She will receive a yet-to-be determined whistleblower award. DOJ
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