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Upcoding

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April 28, 2022

Donald Woo Lee, a California-based doctor who recruited Medicare beneficiaries to his clinics, falsely diagnosed them and provided them with medically unnecessary procedures, and then submitted upcoded bills for those procedures to Medicare, has been sentenced to nearly 8 years in prison after being found guilty of seven counts of healthcare fraud.  In addition to submitting approximately $12 million in false claims to Medicare, for which he received $4.5 million in reimbursement, Lee also repackaged and reused single-use catheters on his patients.  DOJ

April 27, 2022

Dr. Josef Schenker and his urgent care facilities, Josef Schenker, M.D., P.C., and Care Partners Medical Management, LLC will pay $564,217.70 for violations of the False Claims Act, by submitting up-coded claims to Medicare related to administration of the COVID-19 vaccine. Schenker and the two facilities provided higher-level CPT codes for services not actually provided, charging, e.g., for an office visit or exam when the patient only actually received a vaccine or a COVID test. EDNY

March 28, 2022

A Pennsylvania-based psychiatrist and his wife have agreed to pay $3 million in the largest recovery against a single psychiatrist ever in the history of the U.S. Department of Labor – Office of Worker’s Compensation Programs (OWCP).  From 2013 to 2021, Dr. Harry Doyle and his wife and sole employee, Sonya, allegedly billed OWCP for services that weren’t rendered, submitted double-billed and upcoded patient claims, and falsified patient records to reflect their false billing.  As part of the settlement, they will be excluded from participating in federal healthcare programs for 25 years.  USAO EDPA

March 3, 2022

New York-based ophthalmologist Ameet Goyal, M.D., who owned and operated Rye Eye Associates, has been sentenced to 8 years in prison and ordered to pay $3.6 million in forfeiture as well as $3.6 million in restitution for submitting $3.6 million in upcoded charges to Medicare, private insurers, and patients between 2010 and 2017.  While facing charges for healthcare fraud in 2020, Goyal also falsely certified that he was not facing any criminal charges in order to obtain over $600,000 in loans from the Paycheck Protection Program.  USAO SDNY

As Whistleblowers and Quality Care Advocates, Hospitalists are the Conscience of Healthcare

Posted  02/28/22
By Mary Inman, Ari Yampolsky
Thursday, March 3, 2022 is National Hospitalist Day, a day we recognize the contributions of the specialist care doctors and other professionals who provide quality care to sick and vulnerable patients in a hospital.  As the fastest growing specialty in modern medicine, hospitalists are a critical part of the nation’s health care service delivery system. Less noted but no less important, hospitalists also play a...

December 13, 2021

Kevin Cooper, M.D. and his practice, Cooper Family Medical Center, will pay $375,000 to resolve allegations that they fraudulently billed Medicare of non-reimbursable acupuncture devices by using billing codes for surgically implanted devices for the provision of P-Stim electro-acupuncture devices that are affixed behind a patient’s ear using an adhesive.  USAO SD MI

December 7, 2021

New Jersey-based Princeton Pathology Services P.A. will pay $2.4 million to resolve allegations that it overbilled Medicare by submitting claims using a Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code that required written analysis by a pathologist, when no such analysis was required or had been prepared.  A whistleblower, Jayant Barai, M.D., initiated the matter by filing a qui tam complaint under the False Claims Act, and will receive an award of $456,000USAO NJ

Sutter Health – Medicare Advantage Fraud ($90 million)

Constantine Cannon represented whistleblower Kathy Ormsby in a False Claims Act litigation against Sutter Health and its affiliates that resulted in a $90 million settlement – the largest Medicare Advantage FCA settlement to date against a hospital system, and the second largest reported Medicare Advantage fraud settlement to date.  Ms. Ormsby, a former Risk Adjustment Factor Project Manager at Sutter Health affiliate Palo Alto Medical Foundation, alleged the Sutter Health defendants inflated the number and severity of Medicare Advantage patient diagnoses, manipulated patient records, ignored audit “red flags,” and engaged in other misconduct to increase patient risk scores and obtain Medicare Advantage payments to which they were not entitled.  In Spring 2019, the Government intervened in Ms. Ormsby’s case as to PAMF, and Ms. Ormsby continued to pursue her claims against the other Sutter Health affiliates on a non-intervened basis. This settlement resolves all claims and follows Sutter’s unsuccessful effort to dismiss both the complaints.  Read more: Press Release; Whistleblower Insider.

August 30, 2021

Northern California healthcare provider Sutter Health and its affiliated entities will pay $90 million to resolve a False Claims Act case initially filed by whistleblower Kathy Ormsby alleging that defendants submitted unsupported diagnosis codes for patients enrolled in Medicare Advantage.  Sutter contracts with Medicare Advantage Organizations to provide care to Medicare Advantage beneficiaries enrolled in their plans, and allegedly caused those MAOs to submit to Medicare inaccurate and invalid diagnosis codes that inflated the risk scores of those beneficiaries and were not supported by the medical records, thereby resulting in overpayments by CMS.  Sutter also allegedly failed to take sufficient corrective action when it became aware of the submission of these unsupported diagnosis codes.  Sutter also entered into a five-year corporate integrity agreement.  Sutter previously entered into a partial settlement of $30 million, which will be credited against the $90 million total settlement.  DOJ; USAO ND Cal

August 25, 2021

Georgia-based psychotherapy provide Carenow Services, LLC, together with its CEO Leena Karun, will pay $2 million to resolve allegations of FCA violations through their billing for services at nursing homes that were not medically necessary, that were improperly documented, and at higher intensity levels than justified.  The investigation was initiated when a former Carenow employee filed a qui tam complaint; the whistleblower will receive an undisclosed whistleblower reward.  USAO ND Ga
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