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Improper Medical Personnel

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DOJ Catch of the Week - St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center

Posted  08/5/16
By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team This week's Department of Justice "Catch of the Week" goes to St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center.  On Monday, the Central New York hospital agreed to pay $3.2 million to resolve allegations it violated the federal False Claims Act and New York False Claims Act by billing the state Medicaid program for mental health services provided by unqualified staff.  See DOJ Press...

August 1, 2016

New York and the Justice Department announced that St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center (St. Joseph’s) will pay $3.2 million to resolve allegations that it violated the federal and New York False Claims Act by presenting false claims for payment to the state Medicaid program for mental health services rendered by unqualified staff. settlements resolve allegations that St. Joseph’s knowingly presented false claims for payment to Medicaid for mobile-crisis outreach services rendered from January 1, 2007 through February 29, 2016 by personnel who failed to satisfy the basic CPEP staffing requirements. By submitting claims for payment to Medicaid without disclosing that its CPEP staff failed to meet the regulatory staffing requirements, and by accepting payment for these claims, the governments allege that St. Joseph’s misrepresented its compliance with mental health staffing requirements that are central to the provision of counseling services and, by doing so, violated the False Claims Act. As part of the settlements, St. Joseph’s admits that it was improper to have conducted mobile crisis outreach visits without a member of its CPEP professional staff present and then bill Medicaid for such services. NY

July 29, 2016

A judgment for $4,752,101.50 was entered against LXE Counseling, LLC and its owner Lexie Darlene George (a/k/a Lexie Darlene Batchelor) for violations of the False Claims Act, the Oklahoma Medicaid False Claims Act and the Oklahoma Medicaid Program Integrity Act.  Specifically, LXE and Batchelor were found to have submitted claims to Oklahoma Medicaid for services that were, among other things: provided by unqualified persons; based on falsified time and service records; double billed; unauthorized or not provided.  The allegations originated in a whistleblower lawsuit filed under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act.  The whistleblower will receive a yet-to-be-determined whistleblower award from the proceeds of the government's recovery.  DOJ (WDOK)

July 27, 2016

Deremedx Dermatology, P.C. (d/b/a Dermatique) and its owner Dr. Barry A. Solomon agreed to pay roughly $300,000 to resolve charges they violated the False Claims Act repeatedly billing Medicare and Medicaid for services performed as if Solomon were supervising the procedures even though he was not in the office and was in some cases out of the country.  Solomon also billed for so-called “impossible days” in which he submitted claims for more hours than he could have possibly worked.  The allegations originated in a whistleblower lawsuit filed by Diane Vitale under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act.  She will receive a yet-to-be-determined whistleblower award from the proceeds of the government's recovery.  DOJ (EDNY)

July 27, 2016

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, together with the University of Pittsburgh Physicians, UPMC Community Medicine, Inc., and Tri-State Neurosurgical Associates-UPMC, Inc., agreed to pay roughly $2.5 million to settle charges they violated the False Claims Act by submitting false claims to Medicare.  Specifically, the government alleged that certain neurosurgeons employed by UPMC submitted claims for assisting with or supervising surgical procedures performed by other surgeons, residents, fellows, or physician assistants, when those neurosurgeons did not participate in the relevant surgeries to the degree required.  The allegations originated in a whistleblower lawsuit filed under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act.  The whistleblowers will receive a yet-to-be-determined whistleblower award from the proceeds of the government's recovery.  DOJ (WDPA)

July 22, 2016

Preferred Imaging, LLC, a provider of diagnostic imaging services, agreed to pay $3,510,000 to resolve allegations it violated the False Claims Act by improperly billing Medicare and Texas Medicaid for services performed without proper medical supervision.  The allegations originated in a whistleblower lawsuit filed under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act by former Preferred Imaging employee Tracy Sifuentes.  She will receive a whistleblower award of $596,700 from the proceeds of the government's recovery.  DOJ (NDTX)

June 24, 2016

Florida arrested two Panama City mental health counselors for allegedly defrauding the Florida Medicaid program out of more than $360,000. The investigation revealed that Laurie Lynne Kidd, 54, who has a doctorate in psychology, hired Courtney Ann Hill, 27, to provide individual and group therapy to assisted living facilities. Hill is an unlicensed and unqualified employee and allegedly submitted false reports claiming that Hill provided therapy to the residents, when, in fact the defendant did not. Kidd billed Medicaid for the services never rendered as if Kidd herself performed the services. Kidd allegedly submitted more than $400,000 in fraudulent claims and received more than $360,000 from the Florida Medicaid program due to the fraudulent claims. Hill is allegedly responsible for $99,000 of Kidd’s fraudulent claims. FL

May 26, 2016

New York announced that it has entered into a settlement agreement with Vascuscript, Inc., d/b/a Mobile Pharmacy Solutions, to resolve allegations that it billed Medicaid for prescriptions which were written by an excluded Medicaid Provider. The Attorney General’s investigation determined that from April 21, 2010, through January 25, 2013, Vascuscript, Inc. submitted and received payment on approximately 4,600 claims to Medicaid for prescriptions that were written by Dr. Mikhail Strutsovskiy. The Department of Health had previously excluded Dr. Strutsovskiy from the Medicaid program, rendering prescriptions written by him ineligible for Medicaid reimbursement. Before filling a prescription, pharmacies are required under Medicaid billing rules to first ascertain whether the prescriber’s services are eligible for reimbursement. Because Vascuscript did not do so, it filled and delivered the prescriptions written by Dr. Strutsovskiy that were not eligible for Medicaid reimbursement. NY

April 19, 2016

Michigan doctor Ali Elhorr pleaded guilty for his role in a $2.4 million health care fraud scheme.  Elhorr, who worked at House Calls Physicians P.L.L.C., admitted to conspiring with others, including his brother, Dr. Hicham Elhorr, to commit health care fraud by agreeing to serve as a “supervising” physician for unlicensed individuals purportedly providing in-home physician services.  The unlicensed individuals prepared medical documentation that Elhorr and other licensed physicians signed as if they had performed the visits when, in fact, Elhorr and the other licensed physicians had not treated the beneficiaries.  The visits were then billed as if performed by the licensed physicians.  DOJ

April 12, 2016

Cecil Alexander Kent Jr. pleaded guilty to fraud charges for his role in a scheme to defraud Medicare out of approximately $6.2 million while he acted as an unlicensed physician at a Detroit in-home physician services company.  Kent admitted that while he was employed at B&M Visiting Doctors PLC and while he was unlicensed, he saw patients and falsified related patient records, including medical documents and billing documents, all under the name of a licensed medical doctor.  He admitted that among those documents falsified were prescriptions for controlled substances.  DOJ
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