The OIG published its latest special advisory bulletin on the effect of exclusion from participation in Federal health care programs. Revenue generated from billing state and federally funded health programs remains a significant portion for healthcare providers and suppliers and in many cases, the lifeline of an institution or practice. For individual doctors, exclusion from the program means more than having to shut down a practice, like it would for a hospital or a group practice. For an individual physician, exclusion can render that doctor unemployable, even if the scope of that exclusion is relatively narrow. Employers don’t want the liability, and potential employees are scarred by the screening process that could expose them as being on the OIG List of Excluded Individuals and Entities (LEIE). For a full report of the bulletin, click the link below.
A Detroit-area adult day care center owner was sentenced to serve 40 months in prison for billing for unnecessary psychotherapy services, or services that were not provided, as part of a health care fraud conspiracy which led to more than $19 million in fraudulent Medicare billings. In addition to the prison term, the sentence included 2 years of supervised release, and about $600,000 in restitution. It was investigated by the FBI and HHS-OIG and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan.
To learn more about the specifics of this bust, click the link below.
A Detroit-area home health care agency owner was sentenced to 60 months in prison for causing the submission of over $1 million in false and fraudulent billing to Medicare as part of a $13.8 million health care fraud conspiracy. The agency paid and directed the payment of sums to doctors to refer patients for home health care services that were not medically necessary and/or never rendered. Multiple entities and providers were involved. The scheme goes further, as the owner paid and directed the payment of various medical professionals, including nurses, physical therapists, and physical therapy assistants, to create fictitious patient files to document home health services purportedly provided, that were never rendered. Fictitious patient files were signed, purporting to have given physical therapy services at all three home health care agencies that were in fact never rendered.
For more information on the sentencing, click the link below.
Since their inception in March 2007, strike force operations in nine locations have charged more than 1,480 defendants who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $4.8 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to: www.stopmedicarefraud.gov
Medicare fraud is very real, and government agencies and investigators are careful and patient when making their apprehensions. It is very easy to be lured into becoming a co-defendant without knowing the full extent of what business plan you are being asked to take part. You could be a victim/co-defendant simply through a referral process that, unbeknownst to you, could be a serious violation.
We offer counseling on ways to help your business flourish legally and ways to avoid engaging in any unlawful proposed arrangements.