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Medical Billing Fraud

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February 25, 2021

Texas Center for Orthopedic and Spinal Disorders and its owner, osteopath Mark Kuper, have agreed to a judgment of $11.2 million to resolve claims arising from their fraudulent billing of government healthcare programs.  Kuper also pleaded guilty to healthcare fraud, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.  Defendants admitted that they submitted claims for services that were never rendered, including claims for one-on-one physical therapy pursuant to an individualized plan of care, when patients were actually attending group sessions with an athletic trainer, and claims for 60-minute psychotherapy sessions when patients actually spoke with unqualified individuals for just 15-20 minutes.  In addition, Kuper permitted his wife to use his credentials to issue prescriptions for controlled substances.  The civil investigation was initiated by a qui tam complaint filed by Richard Brown, who will receive 17% of the government’s recovery.  USAO ND TX

February 4, 2021

Durable medical equipment company Regency, Inc., has agreed to a $20.3 million civil settlement to resolve allegations that, together with its principal Kelly Wolfe, it violated the False Claims Act by creating dozens of front companies to submit over $400 million in false claims to government healthcare programs for the sale of DME that was not medically necessary.  Defendants were alleged to have paid unlawful kickbacks to doctors and falsely claimed that those doctors provided telehealth services to the beneficiaries, when in most cases the doctors had no interaction at all with the beneficiaries.  Wolfe also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and will be sentenced at a later date.  Former Regency employee Condra Albright will receive 23% of the civil recovery as a whistleblower reward.  DOJ; USAO MD FL

Top Ten State Healthcare and Financial Fraud Recoveries of 2020

Posted  01/8/21
person raising the U.S. flag
State and local governments are on the front lines of enforcing anti-fraud laws and play a critical role in ensuring that businesses and individuals are held accountable.  Whistleblowers with information about corporate misconduct involving healthcare, government procurement, financial regulation, and tax may find that state proceedings offer them the best option. More than 30 states have False Claims Acts that...

COVID Fraud: New York Pharmacy Owners Indicted on Charges Arising from their Abuse of Emergency Override Billing Codes

Posted  01/7/21
Flashing lights on top of police car
As we have previously written, regulatory changes designed to alleviate logistical and financial pressure on healthcare providers during the COVID-19 crisis, while necessary, can create opportunities for fraudsters.  Last month, an indictment in New York revealed a scheme by two pharmacy owners who took advantage of relaxed rules regarding prescription prior authorization and refill timing to overcharge Medicare and...

January 4, 2021

Three providers, James P. Anderson, as owner of Affiliated Neurologists, PLC; Charles F. Spencer, as owner of Total Family Physicians Center PLLC; and Mitchell P. Shea, as owner of Chiro2Med of Tennessee P.C., have agreed to pay the United States and Tennessee a total of $1.72 million to resolve allegations under the False Claims Act for improperly billing Medicare and TennCare for “P-Stim” electro-acupuncture devices that do not qualify for reimbursement.  The defendants billed for the disposable P-Stim devices using a code reserved for neurostimulator devices that are implanted during a surgical procedure. USAO MDTN

December 21, 2020

DME provider Apria Healthcare Group, Inc. and April Healthcare LLC will pay $40.5 million to settle allegations brought in a qui tam action filed by three former Apria employees that they improperly billed government healthcare programs for beneficiary rentals of non-invasive ventilators (“NIVs”) that were not medically necessary or which were provided with improper waivers of patient co-payments.  Medicare pays as much as $1,400 a month for NIVs, and providers are required to monitor patient usage of NIVs and stop billing when the NIVs are no longer being used.  Apria respiratory therapists did not, however, failed to monitor patient NIV usage and even when Apria knew that patients were no longer using the NIVs, Apria often did not take steps to stop seeking payment.  In addition, April sales staff steered doctors and beneficiaries to use NIVs when less-expensive alternatives were available, and routinely waived co-payments for NIV patients without making an assessment of the patient’s financial need.  USAO SDNY

December 4, 2020

Joint Active Systems, Inc. (JAS), a durable medical equipment manufacturer, and New England Orthotics & Prosthetics, LLP (NEOPS) have agreed to pay $1.59 million and $90,000 respectively to resolve allegations of defrauding multiple federal healthcare programsincluding TRICARE, Medicare, and Medicaid programs in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Islandthrough a variety of fraudulent schemes.  According to a qui tam suit filed by two former NEOPS employees, JAS allegedly recruited NEOPS to bill Medicare and Medicaid for custom-fabricated orthotics that were not custom-fabricated orthotics, nor medically necessary, and falsely claim that JAS-affiliated sales representatives were properly trained to treat patients during fittings.  Additionally, JAS allegedly overcharged the VA for its devices by as much as 300%.  For blowing the whistle on these fraud schemes, the whistleblowers will receive a 17% share of the settlement proceeds.  USAO MA

December 2, 2020

The owner and operator of Atlanta-based Elite Homecare has been sentenced to over five years in prison and ordered to pay $999,999 in restitution for defrauding Medicaid of nearly $1 million.  As a provider under the Georgia Pediatric Program (GAPP)—an in-home nursing program for Medicaid-eligible children with severe physical and cognitive disabilities—Diandra Bankhead allegedly submitted thousands of claims for services that were fraudulent in a myriad of ways.  Some of the claims falsely represented that employees provided more than 24 hours of services in a given day to multiple children simultaneously (including to children whose families had not retained Elite, and by RNs who did not know their credentials were being used), while other claims contained fraudulent credentialing information and fraudulent supporting documentation, or were upcoded to induce higher payments from Medicaid.  Additionally, Bankhead allegedly “sold” information about twenty of Elite’s former clients to another Atlanta-based home health provider in exchange for a percentage of the reimbursements from Medicaid.  USAO NDGA
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