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Other Government Health Programs

This archive displays posts tagged as relevant to government healthcare programs other than Medicare and Medicaid, and fraud in those programs. You may also be interested in our pages:

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June 3, 2019

A former physician’s assistant in New Hampshire has been sentenced to 4 years in prison for writing prescriptions of a fentanyl spray in exchange for over $49,000 in kickbacks masked as speaker honorariums.  After being approached by a drug manufacturer in 2013, Christopher Clough wrote upwards of 750 prescriptions for the spray, which was intended for management of breakthrough cancer pain (BTCP).  Over 215 of those prescriptions were for Medicare and TRICARE patients and led to payments of over $2.1 million by Medicare and almost $600,000 by TRICARE.  On top of the kickback charges, Clough was accused of causing patient harm for prescribing the drug, in high doses, to patients who didn’t have BTCP, and then rebuffing patient and family requests to get off the drug.  USAO NH

May 30, 2019

HyperHeal Hyperbarics, an oxygen therapy facility in Maryland, has agreed to pay over $400,000 to settle whistleblower allegations filed under the False Claims Act.  In their 2016 qui tam suit, former employees Lesa Schrum and Juliette Skelton alleged that from 2013 to 2014, HyperHeal and its part-owner Eric Shapiro billed TRICARE for medically unnecessary services, services performed without physician supervision, or services that weren't ever performed.  As part of the settlement, Schrum and Skelton will receive $74,635.25.  USAO MD

May 29, 2019

Almirall, LLC, f/k/a Aqua Pharmaceuticals, LLC , will pay $3.5 million to settle kickback allegations exposed by a former Aqua sales representative.  According to the whistleblower, the pharmaceutical company paid kickbacks in the form of free meals, trips, gift cards, and gifts, to dermatology providers in exchange for prescriptions of their drugs to Medicare and TRICARE patients.  It also paid kickbacks by compensating healthcare providers for speaking engagements and consulting services. For coming forward with details of the fraud, the unnamed whistleblower will receive a $735,000 share of the recovery.  USAO EDPA

May 29, 2019

A doctor in South Carolina has agreed to pay $92,506.30 to settle allegations of accepting illegal payments from OK Compounding, LLC, in exchange for prescribing their pain creams to TRICARE patients.  The False Claims Act violations allegedly occurred between February and May 2013, and involved “medical director fees” paid to Dr. Jerry Back that were in reality, kickbacks.  This was the eighth kickback settlement in the Northern District of Oklahoma since the beginning of the year.  USAO NDOK

March 26, 2019

The owner and managing member of a Mississippi-based pharmacy has plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and tax evasion in connection with a massive $200 million compounding pharmacy scheme involving at least 12 individuals over four years. Glenn Doyle Beach, Jr. of Advantage Pharmacy admitted to marketing and formulating compounded medications for TRICARE patients without regard to medical necessity, falsifying paperwork to mislead auditors, and engaging in money laundering and tax evasion to conceal proceeds. He is scheduled to be sentenced in July. DOJ; USAO SDMS

February 27, 2019

The owner and operator of a drug marketing company has pleaded guilty for his role in a $200 million scheme to defraud TRICARE in one of the largest healthcare fraud cases said to come out of Mississippi. Between 2012 and 2016, Howard Randall Thomley of Advantage Marketing Professionals allegedly recruited TRICARE beneficiaries to accept millions of dollars of medically unnecessary compounded medications by paying them a percentage of prescription revenues. The prescriptions forms — signed by medical professionals who never saw the recruited beneficiaries — were then filled by a compounding pharmacy, Advantage Pharmacy, who paid Thomley a portion of the reimbursements. For his role in the scheme, Thomley now faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison at his sentencing in July. USAO SDMS

February 25, 2019

PhysioHealth Inc. and its wholly owned company, Dynamic Therapy Services, LLC, have agreed to pay $2 million following a self-disclosure that Dynamic had improperly billed TRICARE for services performed at clinics in Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, between 2011 and 2017. The reported misconduct involved billing for services performed by unauthorized physical therapy assistants, using the supervising physical therapist's authorized provider number, which was in violation of TRICARE rules at the time. USAO EDPA

February 22, 2019

Marketers, doctors, lawyers, and medical service provider defendants were sentenced this week for their roles in a multi-million dollar California worker's compensation fraud scheme in the San Diego area.  The defendants recruited patients and referred them to co-defendant attorneys to file fraudulent claims on their behalf and medical providers who performed often unnecessary and painful medical procedures for which they would then bill insurers including California Workers' Compensation.  Ronald Grusd, a doctor who owned a diagnostic imaging company, was sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to forfeit $1.3 million.  Fermin Iglesias, who worked as a patient capper, was sentenced to 5 years in prison and ordered to forfeit $1 million. Julian Garcia, who provided services to assist the referrals and kickbacks, was sentenced to three years in prison.  Jennifer Louise White, who marketed to providers in the network, was sentenced to two years in prison.  Sean O'Keefe, an attorney who filed fraudulent claims on behalf of patients, was sentenced to 13 months in prison and ordered to forfeit $300,000.  Steven Rigler, a chiropractor, was sentenced to six months in prison.  USAO SD Cal.

Ohio Seeks to Recover Overcharges from OptumRx

Posted  02/21/19
Office building with logo for Optum
After a 2018 investigation by the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation (BWC) of its prescription drug spending, the BWC pharmacy program manager, John Hanna, concluded that "we were being hosed."  The BWC had contracted with OptumRx to act as a pharmacy benefits manager (PBM).  PBMs act as middlemen between drugmakers, pharmacies, and payors such as worker's compensation programs, Medicaid, Medicare, and other...

February 20, 2019

Hope Thomley of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, pleaded guilty for her role in a compounding pharmacy kickback scheme.  Thomley was the owner and operator of acompany that marketed for Advantage Pharmacy in Hattiesburg, and received 50% of Advantage's reimbursements.  Thomley admitted that she knew Advantage submitted false claims for payment to federal healthcare programs for medications that had not been prescribed by a doctor or were not medically necessary.  Between 2012 and 2016, health care benefit programs, including TRICARE, reimbursed Advantage Pharmacy and other pharmacies involved in the scheme at least $200 million. DOJ
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