Esformes Reaches Plea Deal in Major Nursing Home Medicare Fraud Scheme

Attorney and Author George F. Indest III HeadshotBy George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law and Hartley Brooks, Law Clerk, The Health Law Firm

On February 1, 2024, the District Court for the Southern District of Florida announced that Florida nursing home mogul Phillip Esformes had reached a plea deal on pending conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud charges.

Esformes, who then owned more than 30 Miami-area nursing and assisted living facilities, was first charged in July 2016 with what the Department of Justice (DOJ) called a $1 billion, decades-long Medicare fraud and money-laundering scheme. Click here to read the DOJ’s press release. (https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/three-individuals-charged-1-billion-medicare-fraud-and-money-laundering-scheme)

The Fraudulent Health Care Scheme.

The government initially accused The Florida Man of bribing physicians to refer patients to the nursing homes he owned in the Miami area. He would then move the patients to his assisted living facilities once he had charged Medicare for the maximum of 100 days the government pays for skilled nursing services.

In April 2019, a federal jury convicted the nursing home mogul on various counts of paying and receiving kickbacks, money laundering, bribery, and obstruction of justice. The judge sentenced him to 20 years in prison and ordered to pay $5.5 million in restitution and to forfeit $38.7 million. Click hear to read more. (https://www.thehealthlawfirmblogs.com/the-biggest-healthcare-fraud-case-ever-prosecuted-in-2019-big-surprise-florida-wins/)

However, in December 2020, former President Donald Trump commuted his 20 year prison sentence. The conviction remained, however, and he was ordered to pay the restitution order, which the Eleventh Circuit later affirmed.

The Retrial.

During the initial trial, the jury was deadlocked on six counts of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. The DOJ announced in April 2021 that it would retry Esformes on these counts. He appealed to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals arguing that a retrial was barred because it would violate Trump’s clemency order. He also argued that the prosecution’s misconduct in reviewing privileged materials barred the retrial. The Eleventh Circuit denied his appeal of the prosecution misconduct issue and did not rule on the issue of Trump’s clemency order.

He appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States which denied his appeal in December 2023.

A Plea Deal with the District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

On February 1, 2024, the judge assigned to the retrial in the case canceled a scheduled conference because the parties had reached a plea deal. A plea in the case lets the Florida man avoid another lengthy trial — and another potentially harsh prison sentence if he were convicted. The terms of the plea deal have not been made public.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Health Care Fraud and Anti-Kickback Statute Violations.

The attorneys of The Health Law Firm represent healthcare providers in cases of medical billing fraud, overbilling, Medicare audits, Anti-Kickback allegations, and False Claims Act cases throughout Florida and across the United States. Our attorneys also represent physicians, medical groups, nursing homes, home health agencies, pharmacies, hospitals and other healthcare providers and institutions in Medicare and Medicaid investigations, audits, recovery actions and termination from the Medicare or Medicaid Program.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or toll-free at (888) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

Bolado, Carolina. “Fla. Nursing Home Mogul Reaches Plea Deal With Feds.” Law360. (1 February 2024) https://www.law360.com/health/articles/1767643?nl_pk=ab1e43aa-534e-4b86-8a5a-6b981ef7c33b&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=health&utm_content=1767643&read_main=1&nlsidx=0&nlaidx=0

Hale, Nathan. “Esformes Told To Pay $44.2M In Massive Health Fraud Case.” Law360. (21 November 2019) https://www.law360.com/articles/1219282

Mangan, Dan. “Trump clemency recipient Philip Esformes reaches plea deal in Medicare fraud case.” CNBC. (1 February 2024) https://www.cnbc.com/2024/02/01/trump-clemency-recipient-philip-esformes-has-medicare-plea-deal.html

Office of Public Affairs. “South Florida Health Care Facility Owner Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Role in Largest Health Care Fraud Scheme Ever Charged by The Department of Justice.” United States Department of Justice. (12 September 2019) https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/south-florida-health-care-facility-owner-sentenced-20-years-prison-role-largest-health-care

About the Authors:

George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice.

Hartley Brooks is a law clerk with The Health Law Firm.

The Health Law Firm has its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area, and can be reached at: www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free: (888) 331-6620.

Attorney Positions with The Health Law Firm. The Health Law Firm is always looking for qualified attorneys interested in the practice of health law. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. If you are a member of The Florida Bar and are interested, forward a cover letter and your resume to: [email protected] or fax to: (407) 331-3030.

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2024 George F. Indest III, The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced in any way in any medium without the written permission of the copyright owner. The author of this work reserves the right to have his name associated with any use or publication of this work or any part of it.

Esformes Reaches Plea Deal in Major Nursing Home Medicare Fraud Scheme

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law and Hartley Brooks, Law Clerk, The Health Law Firm

On February 1, 2024, the District Court for the Southern District of Florida announced that Florida nursing home mogul Phillip Esformes had reached a plea deal on pending conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud charges.

Esformes, who then owned more than 30 Miami-area nursing and assisted living facilities, was first charged in July 2016 with what the Department of Justice (DOJ) called a $1 billion, decades-long Medicare fraud and money-laundering scheme. Click here to read the DOJ’s press release. (https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/three-individuals-charged-1-billion-medicare-fraud-and-money-laundering-scheme)

The Fraudulent Health Care Scheme.

The government initially accused The Florida Man of bribing physicians to refer patients to the nursing homes he owned in the Miami area. He would then move the patients to his assisted living facilities once he had charged Medicare for the maximum of 100 days the government pays for skilled nursing services.

In April 2019, a federal jury convicted the nursing home mogul on various counts of paying and receiving kickbacks, money laundering, bribery, and obstruction of justice. The judge sentenced him to 20 years in prison and ordered to pay $5.5 million in restitution and to forfeit $38.7 million. Click hear to read more. (https://www.thehealthlawfirmblogs.com/the-biggest-healthcare-fraud-case-ever-prosecuted-in-2019-big-surprise-florida-wins/)

However, in December 2020, former President Donald Trump commuted his 20 year prison sentence. The conviction remained, however, and he was ordered to pay the restitution order, which the Eleventh Circuit later affirmed.

The Retrial.

During the initial trial, the jury was deadlocked on six counts of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. The DOJ announced in April 2021 that it would retry Esformes on these counts. He appealed to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals arguing that a retrial was barred because it would violate Trump’s clemency order. He also argued that the prosecution’s misconduct in reviewing privileged materials barred the retrial. The Eleventh Circuit denied his appeal of the prosecution misconduct issue and did not rule on the issue of Trump’s clemency order.

He appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States which denied his appeal in December 2023.

A Plea Deal with the District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

On February 1, 2024, the judge assigned to the retrial in the case canceled a scheduled conference because the parties had reached a plea deal. A plea in the case lets the Florida man avoid another lengthy trial — and another potentially harsh prison sentence if he were convicted. The terms of the plea deal have not been made public.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Health Care Fraud and Anti-Kickback Statute Violations.

The attorneys of The Health Law Firm represent healthcare providers in cases of medical billing fraud, overbilling, Medicare audits, Anti-Kickback allegations, and False Claims Act cases throughout Florida and across the United States. Our attorneys also represent physicians, medical groups, nursing homes, home health agencies, pharmacies, hospitals and other healthcare providers and institutions in Medicare and Medicaid investigations, audits, recovery actions and termination from the Medicare or Medicaid Program.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or toll-free at (888) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

Bolado, Carolina. “Fla. Nursing Home Mogul Reaches Plea Deal With Feds.” Law360. (1 February 2024) https://www.law360.com/health/articles/1767643?nl_pk=ab1e43aa-534e-4b86-8a5a-6b981ef7c33b&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=health&utm_content=1767643&read_main=1&nlsidx=0&nlaidx=0

Hale, Nathan. “Esformes Told To Pay $44.2M In Massive Health Fraud Case.” Law360. (21 November 2019) https://www.law360.com/articles/1219282

Mangan, Dan. “Trump clemency recipient Philip Esformes reaches plea deal in Medicare fraud case.” CNBC. (1 February 2024) https://www.cnbc.com/2024/02/01/trump-clemency-recipient-philip-esformes-has-medicare-plea-deal.html

Office of Public Affairs. “South Florida Health Care Facility Owner Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Role in Largest Health Care Fraud Scheme Ever Charged by The Department of Justice.” United States Department of Justice. (12 September 2019) https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/south-florida-health-care-facility-owner-sentenced-20-years-prison-role-largest-health-care

About the Authors:

George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice.

Hartley Brooks is a law clerk with The Health Law Firm.

The Health Law Firm has its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area, and can be reached at: www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free: (888) 331-6620.

Attorney Positions with The Health Law Firm. The Health Law Firm is always looking for qualified attorneys interested in the practice of health law. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. If you are a member of The Florida Bar and are interested, forward a cover letter and your resume to: [email protected] or fax to: (407) 331-3030.

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2024 George F. Indest III, The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced in any way in any medium without the written permission of the copyright owner. The author of this work reserves the right to have his name associated with any use or publication of this work or any part of it.

Florid Man Strikes Again–Government Asks for Life Sentence for Florida Man in $187M Medicare Fraud Case

George IndestBy George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law and Hartley Brooks, Law Clerk, The Health Law Firm

On August 12, 2023, federal prosecutors recommended a life sentence for the Florida ex-CEO of a laboratory company who had been found guilty of fraudulently billing Medicare over one hundred million dollars. At the December 2022 trial of the Florida man, the jury convicted the Florida Man of all ten counts against him, including health care fraud, payment of kickbacks, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. He was ordered to pay $187 million in restitution.

I have to say it. They need to lock up that Florida man once and for all! I see his wanton actions all over Florida, reported time and time again. Now that Tim Dorsey is deceased (bless his Florida soul) we don’t have a character like Serge Storms to go around and assassinate (at least literarily) such evildoers as Florida man. Will this mean a big upsurge in crimes committed by Florida man?

Specifics of the Health Care Fraud Committed.

From 2016 to 2019, the ex-CEO operated with co-conspirators out of Palm Beach County to conduct a scheme that spanned the entire country. The Florida Man was the CEO of the laboratory company and the architect of the fraudulent scheme. The ex-CEO oversaw and approved every step of the Medicare fraud process.

The Florida Man recruited and bribed patient brokers, directed the use of deceptive marketing techniques, encouraged the use of telemedicine companies that gave approval without consideration, and took measures to conceal the fraud and make it seem legitimate.

The ex-CEO bribed patient brokers, telemedicine companies, and telemarketing companies to contact Medicare beneficiaries and pressure them into taking medically unnecessary genetic tests through his laboratory company.

I would find it hard to believe that such willful and wanton illegal acts occur in the great state of Florida, except that I get about ten phone calls a day from these people trying to hook me into their phony schemes. Well, after this conviction, maybe I’ll only be getting nine phone calls a day from them (unless they allow Florida man unlimited phone calls for such purposes from his prison cell; and since this is Florida, they may well do that!).

He also instructed co-conspirators to go to nursing homes, bingo halls, adult day care facilities, and poor communities in the Atlanta area to pressure Medicare beneficiaries into taking the genetic test.

A single genetic test billed to Medicare could earn the ex-CEO $9,000. In three years, the lab billed Medicare $463 million, of which $187 million was paid out. The Florida Man personally earned $21 million which he spent on luxury purchases, like a Ferrari.

Effects of the Fraud.

The Florida Man exposed Medicare to a fraud where it paid $187 million for medically unnecessary genetic tests; an exorbitant loss. The scheme also confused patients and confounded doctors.

One victim of the fraud was led to believe that the genetic test would tell her if her cancer would return. She took the test and, since it was negative for the mutated gene, she was wrongly led to believe her cancer would not return. Her cancer did return.

Another victim of the fraud tested positive for a gene mutation that they did not actually have. This made their primary care doctor re-bill the genetic test to Medicare to confirm the results. This test came back negative for the gene mutation. The lab’s test was faulty and gave an inaccurate result.

The federal prosecutors argued that the Florida Man preyed on cancer survivors, elderly patients, and people afraid of getting cancer to steal hundreds of millions of dollars from a social safety net.

Sentencing Recommendation.

The government recommended that the Florida Man’s sentencing be considered in decades, rather than months or years, due to the seriousness of the crime and the man’s unwillingness to accept responsibility or show remorse.

During the trial and in post-conviction pleadings, the ex-CEO continuously placed blame on his lawyers, his employees, and the lab directors. He claimed that the kickbacks and bribes were contracts reviewed and negotiated by lawyers and the genetic tests were appropriate and properly signed by physicians.

The government also recommended that the restitution be increased because, even though only $187 million was paid out by Medicare, the laboratory company billed Medicare $463 million. Prosecutors argued that the restitution should be calculated based on the intended loss of $463 million.

The federal prosecutors claimed that since this is one of the largest genetic testing scheme ever brought to trial, the sentencing must act as a deterrent. The prosecutors argued that a life sentence for the Florida Man would reflect the seriousness of the Medicare fraud and deter others from conducting similar healthcare fraud schemes.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced Health Care Fraud and Anti-Kickback Statute Violations.

The attorneys of The Health Law Firm represent healthcare providers in cases of medical billing fraud, overbilling, Medicare audits, Integrity Contractor audits RAC audits, and False Claims Act cases throughout Florida and across the United States. Our attorneys also represent physicians, medical groups, nursing homes, home health agencies, pharmacies, hospitals, and other healthcare providers and institutions in Medicare and Medicaid investigations, audits, recovery actions, and termination from the Medicare or Medicaid Program.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or toll-free at (888) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

About the Authors: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law; he is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Hartley Brooks is a law clerk with the health law firm. Its main office is in Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free: (888) 331-6620.

Attorney Positions with The Health Law Firm. The Health Law Firm is always looking for qualified attorneys interested in health law practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. If you are a member of The Florida Bar and are interested, forward a cover letter and your resume to: [email protected] or fax to: (407) 331-3030.

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999. Copyright © 2023 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

Florid Man Strikes Again: Government Asks for Life Sentence for Florida Man in $187M Medicare Fraud Case

George IndestBy George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law and Hartley Brooks, Law Clerk, The Health Law Firm

On August 12, 2023, federal prosecutors recommended a life sentence for the Florida ex-CEO of a laboratory company who had been found guilty of fraudulently billing Medicare over one hundred million dollars. At the December 2022 trial of the Florida man, the jury convicted the Florida Man of all ten counts against him, including health care fraud, payment of kickbacks, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. He was ordered to pay $187 million in restitution.

I have to say it. They need to lock up that Florida man once and for all! I see his wanton actions all over Florida, reported time and time again. Now that Tim Dorsey is deceased (bless his Florida soul) we don’t have a character like Serge Storms to go around and assassinate (at least literarily) such evildoers as Florida man. Will this mean a big upsurge in crimes committed by Florida man?

Specifics of the Health Care Fraud Committed.

From 2016 to 2019, the ex-CEO operated with co-conspirators out of Palm Beach County to conduct a scheme that spanned the entire country. The Florida Man was the CEO of the laboratory company and the architect of the fraudulent scheme. The ex-CEO oversaw and approved every step of the Medicare fraud process.

The Florida Man recruited and bribed patient brokers, directed the use of deceptive marketing techniques, encouraged the use of telemedicine companies that gave approval without consideration, and took measures to conceal the fraud and make it seem legitimate.

The ex-CEO bribed patient brokers, telemedicine companies, and telemarketing companies to contact Medicare beneficiaries and pressure them into taking medically unnecessary genetic tests through his laboratory company.

I would find it hard to believe that such willful and wanton illegal acts occur in the great state of Florida, except that I get about ten phone calls a day from these people trying to hook me into their phony schemes. Well, after this conviction, maybe I’ll only be getting nine phone calls a day from them (unless they allow Florida man unlimited phone calls for such purposes from his prison cell; and since this is Florida, they may well do that!).

He also instructed co-conspirators to go to nursing homes, bingo halls, adult day care facilities, and poor communities in the Atlanta area to pressure Medicare beneficiaries into taking the genetic test.

A single genetic test billed to Medicare could earn the ex-CEO $9,000. In three years, the lab billed Medicare $463 million, of which $187 million was paid out. The Florida Man personally earned $21 million which he spent on luxury purchases, like a Ferrari.

Effects of the Fraud.

The Florida Man exposed Medicare to a fraud where it paid $187 million for medically unnecessary genetic tests; an exorbitant loss. The scheme also confused patients and confounded doctors.

One victim of the fraud was led to believe that the genetic test would tell her if her cancer would return. She took the test and, since it was negative for the mutated gene, she was wrongly led to believe her cancer would not return. Her cancer did return.

Another victim of the fraud tested positive for a gene mutation that they did not actually have. This made their primary care doctor re-bill the genetic test to Medicare to confirm the results. This test came back negative for the gene mutation. The lab’s test was faulty and gave an inaccurate result.

The federal prosecutors argued that the Florida Man preyed on cancer survivors, elderly patients, and people afraid of getting cancer to steal hundreds of millions of dollars from a social safety net.

Sentencing Recommendation.

The government recommended that the Florida Man’s sentencing be considered in decades, rather than months or years, due to the seriousness of the crime and the man’s unwillingness to accept responsibility or show remorse.

During the trial and in post-conviction pleadings, the ex-CEO continuously placed blame on his lawyers, his employees, and the lab directors. He claimed that the kickbacks and bribes were contracts reviewed and negotiated by lawyers and the genetic tests were appropriate and properly signed by physicians.

The government also recommended that the restitution be increased because, even though only $187 million was paid out by Medicare, the laboratory company billed Medicare $463 million. Prosecutors argued that the restitution should be calculated based on the intended loss of $463 million.

The federal prosecutors claimed that since this is one of the largest genetic testing scheme ever brought to trial, the sentencing must act as a deterrent. The prosecutors argued that a life sentence for the Florida Man would reflect the seriousness of the Medicare fraud and deter others from conducting similar healthcare fraud schemes.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced Health Care Fraud and Anti-Kickback Statute Violations.

The attorneys of The Health Law Firm represent healthcare providers in cases of medical billing fraud, overbilling, Medicare audits, Integrity Contractor audits RAC audits, and False Claims Act cases throughout Florida and across the United States. Our attorneys also represent physicians, medical groups, nursing homes, home health agencies, pharmacies, hospitals, and other healthcare providers and institutions in Medicare and Medicaid investigations, audits, recovery actions, and termination from the Medicare or Medicaid Program.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or toll-free at (888) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

About the Authors: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law; he is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Hartley Brooks is a law clerk with the health law firm. Its main office is in Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free: (888) 331-6620.

Attorney Positions with The Health Law Firm. The Health Law Firm is always looking for qualified attorneys interested in health law practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. If you are a member of The Florida Bar and are interested, forward a cover letter and your resume to: [email protected] or fax to: (407) 331-3030.

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999. Copyright © 2023 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

Florid Man Strikes Again–Government Asks for Life Sentence for Florida Man in $187M Medicare Fraud Case

George IndestBy George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law and Hartley Brooks, Law Clerk, The Health Law Firm

On August 12, 2023, federal prosecutors recommended a life sentence for the Florida ex-CEO of a laboratory company who had been found guilty of fraudulently billing Medicare over one hundred million dollars. At the December 2022 trial of the Florida man, the jury convicted the Florida Man of all ten counts against him, including health care fraud, payment of kickbacks, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. He was ordered to pay $187 million in restitution.

I have to say it. They need to lock up that Florida man once and for all! I see his wanton actions all over Florida, reported time and time again. Now that Tim Dorsey is deceased (bless his Florida soul) we don’t have a character like Serge Storms to go around and assassinate (at least literarily) such evildoers as Florida man. Will this mean a big upsurge in crimes committed by Florida man?

Specifics of the Health Care Fraud Committed.

From 2016 to 2019, the ex-CEO operated with co-conspirators out of Palm Beach County to conduct a scheme that spanned the entire country. The Florida Man was the CEO of the laboratory company and the architect of the fraudulent scheme. The ex-CEO oversaw and approved every step of the Medicare fraud process.

The Florida Man recruited and bribed patient brokers, directed the use of deceptive marketing techniques, encouraged the use of telemedicine companies that gave approval without consideration, and took measures to conceal the fraud and make it seem legitimate.

The ex-CEO bribed patient brokers, telemedicine companies, and telemarketing companies to contact Medicare beneficiaries and pressure them into taking medically unnecessary genetic tests through his laboratory company.

I would find it hard to believe that such willful and wanton illegal acts occur in the great state of Florida, except that I get about ten phone calls a day from these people trying to hook me into their phony schemes. Well, after this conviction, maybe I’ll only be getting nine phone calls a day from them (unless they allow Florida man unlimited phone calls for such purposes from his prison cell; and since this is Florida, they may well do that!).

He also instructed co-conspirators to go to nursing homes, bingo halls, adult day care facilities, and poor communities in the Atlanta area to pressure Medicare beneficiaries into taking the genetic test.

A single genetic test billed to Medicare could earn the ex-CEO $9,000. In three years, the lab billed Medicare $463 million, of which $187 million was paid out. The Florida Man personally earned $21 million which he spent on luxury purchases, like a Ferrari.

Effects of the Fraud.

The Florida Man exposed Medicare to a fraud where it paid $187 million for medically unnecessary genetic tests; an exorbitant loss. The scheme also confused patients and confounded doctors.

One victim of the fraud was led to believe that the genetic test would tell her if her cancer would return. She took the test and, since it was negative for the mutated gene, she was wrongly led to believe her cancer would not return. Her cancer did return.

Another victim of the fraud tested positive for a gene mutation that they did not actually have. This made their primary care doctor re-bill the genetic test to Medicare to confirm the results. This test came back negative for the gene mutation. The lab’s test was faulty and gave an inaccurate result.

The federal prosecutors argued that the Florida Man preyed on cancer survivors, elderly patients, and people afraid of getting cancer to steal hundreds of millions of dollars from a social safety net.

Sentencing Recommendation.

The government recommended that the Florida Man’s sentencing be considered in decades, rather than months or years, due to the seriousness of the crime and the man’s unwillingness to accept responsibility or show remorse.

During the trial and in post-conviction pleadings, the ex-CEO continuously placed blame on his lawyers, his employees, and the lab directors. He claimed that the kickbacks and bribes were contracts reviewed and negotiated by lawyers and the genetic tests were appropriate and properly signed by physicians.

The government also recommended that the restitution be increased because, even though only $187 million was paid out by Medicare, the laboratory company billed Medicare $463 million. Prosecutors argued that the restitution should be calculated based on the intended loss of $463 million.

The federal prosecutors claimed that since this is one of the largest genetic testing scheme ever brought to trial, the sentencing must act as a deterrent. The prosecutors argued that a life sentence for the Florida Man would reflect the seriousness of the Medicare fraud and deter others from conducting similar healthcare fraud schemes.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced Health Care Fraud and Anti-Kickback Statute Violations.

The attorneys of The Health Law Firm represent healthcare providers in cases of medical billing fraud, overbilling, Medicare audits, Integrity Contractor audits RAC audits, and False Claims Act cases throughout Florida and across the United States. Our attorneys also represent physicians, medical groups, nursing homes, home health agencies, pharmacies, hospitals, and other healthcare providers and institutions in Medicare and Medicaid investigations, audits, recovery actions, and termination from the Medicare or Medicaid Program.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or toll-free at (888) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

About the Authors: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law; he is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Hartley Brooks is a law clerk with the health law firm. Its main office is in Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free: (888) 331-6620.

Attorney Positions with The Health Law Firm. The Health Law Firm is always looking for qualified attorneys interested in health law practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. If you are a member of The Florida Bar and are interested, forward a cover letter and your resume to: [email protected] or fax to: (407) 331-3030.

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999. Copyright © 2023 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

What Payers Are Considered to Be “Federal Payers” Under the Federal Anti-kickback Statute?

Author Headshot standing with arms crossed in dark suitBy George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
The federal Anti-Kickback Statute prohibits remuneration in relation to the provision of a “good, facility, service, or item for which payment may be made in whole or in part under a Federal health care program.”  42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7b(b).  The Anti-Kickback Statute goes on to define “federal health care program” as any government-funded plan or program that provides health benefits or any state health care program.  42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7b(f).  But exactly which payers are considered Federal health care programs?  There is a lot of confusion on this issue.  Hopefully, this will clarify it.
The List of Federal Payers for To Which the Anti-Kickback Statute Applies.
The list of federal and state programs to which the Anti-Kickback Statute applies is a long one.  The state ones are on there primarily because they receive some level of federal funding.  This list includes many programs, some of which you may have never heard or guessed.  Here are the ones of which I am aware:
The Medicare Program (along with managed care plans that may contract with the Medicare Program, a number of private insurers);
The Medicaid Program (along with managed care plans that may contract with the various state Medicaid Programs-the private insurers which do this);
State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP or SCHIP);
TRICARE and Tricare for Life;
CHAMPVA;
Veterans Administration (VA) Services;
Indian Health Services (IHS);
Federal Health Program for Alaska Natives;
Railroad Employees National Health and Welfare Plan (RENHWP);
Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) program;
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA);
The Federal Black Lung Benefits Act program (FBLBA);
The Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOIC) (also known as the “Beryllium Exposure Compensation Act”) program;
Refugee Medical Assistance (RMA) program;
Federal Reimbursement of Emergency Health Services to Undocumented Aliens program;  and
The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program.
These programs cover a very wide swath of all health services offered in the United States.  Therefore, nearly every medical item, facility, service, or equipment is potentially payable by a federal health care program.
Note, however, the Federal Employee Health Benefit (FEHB) Program, the program that provides insurance and benefits to federal civilian employees, is not included in the above list of payers, by statutory exemption.  42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7b(f); 5 U.S.C. Ch. 89.
The Public Health Service (PHS) and its programs may also be excluded from the application.  See 42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7b(b)(3)(D).
Cross-over with the False Claims Act.
Compliance with the Anti-Kickback Statute is a Condition of Payment for federal health care programs.  Every claim that is submitted for payment contains an attestation that the provider providing the goods or services for which payment is sought has complied with the federal Conditions of Payment.”  Therefore, if there has been a kickback in relation to such goods or services for which a claim is made, the False Claims Act will also apply.
Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced with Health Care Fraud,  False Claims Act Violations, and Anti-Kickback Statute Violations.
The attorneys of The Health Law Firm represent healthcare providers in cases of medical billing fraud, overbilling, Medicare audits, Integrity Contractor audits and RAC audits, False Claims Act cases, and whistleblower/qui tam cases throughout Florida and across the United States. Our attorneys also represent physicians, medical groups, nursing homes, home health agencies, pharmacies, hospitals and other healthcare providers and institutions in Medicare and Medicaid investigations, audits, recovery actions and termination from the Medicare or Medicaid Program.
To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or toll-free at (888) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.
About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free: (888) 331-6620.
Attorney Positions with The Health Law Firm.  The Health Law Firm is always looking for qualified attorneys interested in the practice of health law. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. If you are a member of The Florida Bar and are interested, forward a cover letter and your resume to: [email protected] or fax to: (407) 331-3030.
“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2023 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.
By |2024-03-14T09:59:21-04:00September 5, 2023|Categories: Mental Health Law Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on What Payers Are Considered to Be “Federal Payers” Under the Federal Anti-kickback Statute?

Doctor Indicted in $1.3 Million Medicare Fraud Kickback Case Seeks Reinstatement of Medicare Billing Privileges

George Indest HeadshotBy George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

On November 2, 2021, a doctor and his wife who had been indicted for their roles in a $1.3 million Medicare fraud scheme asked a New Jersey court to eliminate a bail condition. The doctor argued that the bail condition impeded his ability to practice medicine. Additionally, the doctor indicated that he was seeking to directly address CMS and the Medical Practice’s ability to bill Medicare and Medicaid.

According to the brief, the defendants argued that the court should not get involved in a licensed physician’s medical practice. They argued that this is the role of the state board of medicine.

Background of Their Case.

Both of the defendants, in this case, were arrested and charged in July 2020 for accepting bribes and kickbacks in exchange for ordering unnecessary genetic tests for patients. Genetic testing has turned out to be the latest area of large-scale health care fraud. According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), the scheme billed Medicare for a total of $1.3 million for unnecessary tests. Both of the defendants had been released on $250,000 unsecured personal recognizance bonds.

Click here to view the press release issued by the DOJ.

Is It Really Possible?

In a brief filed with the court, the doctor and his spouse specifically asked the judge to allow them to submit claims to the federal government for reimbursement and to allow the referral of patients to certain other providers.

The defendants argued that because CMS had already suspended both individuals from submitting claims, the court’s bail conditions were unnecessary. The defendants wanted to be able to approach CMS and attempt to have the medical practice’s ability to continue billing the Medicare and Medicaid Programs reinstated. They contended that certain safeguards could be put into place if the practice were allowed to do so. The brief further argued that to the extent, the court had the concern that they would continue to submit fraudulent billing, the following arguments would prevent that:

1. A proposed third-party management company and a third-party billing company, with appropriate peer review, would take over all management and billing responsibilities;

2. CMS would need to agree to reinstate the medical practice with whatever conditions and restrictions it felt necessary before the practice submitted any additional Medicare or Medicaid claims;

3. It is already a condition of their bail that the defendants commit no further crimes.

These defendants’ brief argued that these safeguards should adequately address any concerns of possible future wrongdoing.

Defendants Say Bail Conditions Are Unreasonable For a Working Medical Practice.

The defendants claim the court’s order makes it practically impossible for the doctor to keep his Pennsylvania medical practice open. They claimed that the doctor treats a sizable Medicare and Medicaid patient population. It also argued that, as a licensed physician, he must continue treating his existing patients. Lastly, the defendants argued that they are hoping to eliminate a condition which they claim forces the medical practice to choose between meeting required standards of patient care or violating the court’s bail order.

What Was The Court’s Decision?

These all seemed like some pretty well-thought-out arguments that the defendants made. What did the court finally decide on this matter? Unfortunately, you will have to tune in to this blog at a later date to find out. Hopefully, the answer will not be lost in chaos.

Click here to view the defendant’s brief in full.

To read about another recent case involving bribery and kickbacks in a healthcare fraud scheme, click here to read one of my prior blogs.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced with Health Care Fraud, False Claims Act Violations, and Anti-Kickback Statute Violations.

The attorneys of The Health Law Firm represent healthcare providers in cases of medical billing fraud, overbilling, Medicare audits, program integrity Contractor audits, False Claims Act cases, and whistleblower/qui tam cases throughout Florida and across the United States. Our attorneys also represent physicians, medical groups, nursing homes, home health agencies, pharmacies, hospitals and other healthcare providers and institutions in Medicare and Medicaid investigations, audits, recovery actions and termination from the Medicare or Medicaid Program.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or toll-free at (888) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

Pagan, McCord. “Indicted Doc In Kickback Case Seeks CMS Billing Privileges.” Law360. (November 2, 2021). Web.

“Two Scranton area doctors charged in genetic testing bribery and kickback scheme.” PA Homepage. (July 17, 2020). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free: (888) 331-6620.

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2022 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

By |2024-03-14T09:59:28-04:00June 10, 2023|Categories: Health Facilities Law Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Doctor Indicted in $1.3 Million Medicare Fraud Kickback Case Seeks Reinstatement of Medicare Billing Privileges

Florida Surgeon, Device Company Owner Arrested For Paying Bribes, Kickbacks

Author HeadshotBy George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

On September 7, 2021, federal prosecutors announced the arrest of a Florida surgeon and owner of device company SpineFrontier Inc on charges of bribing surgeons to use products by paying sham consulting fees.

Accused in an indictment in Boston federal court for violating the federal Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) and conspiracy to commit money laundering, is the company’s founder and CEO from Florida. Also charged in the indictment were the company’s chief financial officer from Massachusetts and the device company itself. The charges of AKS violations carry a maximum prison sentence of 10 years, while the money laundering conspiracy charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.

Click here to view the indictment in full.


Alleged Bribes & Kickbacks.

The allegations are that from March 2013 through December 2018, the defendants entered into consulting contracts in which they allegedly agreed to pay surgeons between $250 and $1,000 per hour for consulting work. However, prosecutors claim that the surgeons paid did little consulting work, and the payments only served as bribes to use their company’s products. During that time, surgeons accepted between $32,625 and $978,000 in improper payments, according to the indictment.

Department of Justice Civil Lawsuit For ‘Sham’ Consulting Fees.

In March 2020, the DOJ filed a civil lawsuit against SpineFrontier, accusing the company of illegally funneling more than $8 million to nearly three dozen surgeons.  The complaint alleges that the defendants created a separate company which was used as an intermediary to funnel illicit payments to surgeons.  Additionally, the indictment lists seven surgeons who have allegedly received bribes totaling $2,747,463 to serve as “sham consultants.”  Read the complaint in full here to learn more.


In Summary.

The Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) prohibits offering, paying, soliciting, or receiving remuneration to induce referrals of items or services covered by Medicare, TRICARE, and other federally funded programs.  It is intended to ensure that a physician’s medical judgment is not compromised by improper financial incentives. Conspiring to violate the kickback laws, can bring up to five years in prison while actually violating the kickback laws can result in a sentence of up to 10 years.

“Kickbacks paid to surgeons as sham medical consultants, as alleged in this case, cheat patients and taxpayers alike,” reportedly said Phillip Coyne, Special Agent in Ccharge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG). “Working with our law enforcement partners, we will continue to investigate kickback schemes that threaten the integrity of our federal health care system, no matter how those schemes are disguised.”

You can read the DOJ’s press release on the case here.

Physicians Beware of Such Schemes.

Physicians should beware of any contract, plan or offer which offers them money for little or no work at all.  They should also be aware of plans in which they are “given” ownership interest in or made officers in companies and businesses without their having to buy into them. Such schemes are often used by unscrupulous non-physicians to sucker in physicians so that they can be used to perpetrate criminal enterprises. In may cases, the scheme is to defraud Medicare or another health insurer.  Often older or retired physicians seeking to supplement their income fail prey to such schemes.  Often the purpose is just to obtain the physician’s personal identification number or DEA number to order false prescriptions and diagnostic tests or to carry out other fraudulent billing schemes.  Physicians should always remember two old adages: “Nothing is free” and “If it seems to good to be true, it isn’t.”


Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced with Health Care Fraud,  False Claims Act Violations, and Anti-Kickback Statute Violations.

The attorneys of The Health Law Firm represent healthcare providers in cases of medical billing fraud, overbilling, Medicare audits, ZPIC audits and RAC audits, False Claims Act cases, and whistleblower/qui tam cases throughout Florida and across the United States. Our attorneys also represent physicians, medical groups, nursing homes, home health agencies, pharmacies, hospitals and other healthcare providers and institutions in Medicare and Medicaid investigations, audits, recovery actions and termination from the Medicare or Medicaid Program.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or toll-free at (888) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

Schulte, Fred. “Florida Spine Surgeon and Device Company Owner Charged in Kickback Scheme.” Kaiser Health News. (September 8, 2021). Web.

Pierson, Brendan. “SpineFrontier execs arrested, charged with kickback scheme.” Reuters. (September 7, 2021). Web.

“Florida Spine Surgeon And Device Company Owner Charged in Kickback Scheme.” Health News Florida. (September 8, 2021). Web.


About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free: (888) 331-6620.

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2022 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

By |2024-03-14T09:59:31-04:00April 21, 2023|Categories: Health Facilities Law Blog, In the Know|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Florida Surgeon, Device Company Owner Arrested For Paying Bribes, Kickbacks

HHS Announces Proposed Rules to Reform Stark Law and AKS Regulations

George Indest HeadshotBy George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
On October 9, 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued two proposed rules to reform the federal Stark Law (dealing with prohibited self-referrals) and Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) (addressing giving or receiving any thing of value in exchange for a patient referral) regulations.

The long-awaited proposed rules aim to “modernize and clarify” federal laws relevant to value-based and patient coordinated care programs. The proposals would ease the compliance burden for healthcare providers across the industry while maintaining strong safeguards to protect patients and programs from fraud and abuse.

The Proposed Stark Rule.

The proposed rule that would further implement and clarify the Stark Law, “Modernizing and Clarifying the Physician Self-Referral” would, if finalized, create new exceptions to the existing Stark Law for value-based arrangements, according to CMS. These exceptions would apply broadly to care provided to all patients, not just Medicare beneficiaries, CMS said. The proposed rule also includes additional clarifications and guidance on key statutory terms and other technical compliance requirements.

For more info, click here to view the Stark proposed rule’s fact sheet issued by CMS.

The Proposed AKS Rule.

The proposed rule to further implement and clarify the AKS, “Revisions to the Safe Harbors Under the Anti-Kickback Statute and Civil Monetary Penalty Rules Regarding Beneficiary Inducements” would make several changes to the AKS and beneficiary inducement provisions of the Civil Monetary Penalties Law (CMP). These changes would include the addition of several new AKS safe harbors for certain remuneration exchanged between or among eligible participants.

The new AKS safe harbors include care coordination arrangements aimed at improving quality and outcomes; value-based arrangements with substantial downside financial risk; and value-based arrangements with full financial risk, according to OIG.

Click here to view the fact sheet issued by CMS to learn more about the proposed rule.

To view the press release issued by the HHS in full, click here.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Handling Stark Law and Anti-Kickback Statute Compliance.

If you are involved in referring or providing DHS, your arrangements must be reviewed for compliance with Stark and other anti-fraud laws. Violations of these laws can carry severe financial and criminal penalties. One of the best ways to avoid these sanctions is to have your current or potential arrangement reviewed by an attorney who is experienced in these matters.

The Health Law Firm routinely advises healthcare providers on Stark compliance issues for practitioners and providers of all types of DHS. We can advise you on the legality of a particular arrangement and can assist with remedying any perceived compliance issues. Our attorneys also represent providers in cases of medical billing fraud, overbilling, Medicare audits, ZPIC audits and RAC audits, False Claims Act cases, and whistleblower/qui tam cases throughout Florida and across the United States.

They also represent physicians, medical groups, nursing homes, home health agencies, pharmacies, hospitals and other healthcare providers and institutions in Medicare and Medicaid investigations, audits, recovery actions and termination from the Medicare or Medicaid Program.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

Kearbey, Amy. “CMS Publishes Proposed Amendments To Stark Law Advisory Opinion Regulations.” The National Law Review. (October 9, 2019). Web.

HHS Press Office. “HHS Proposes Stark Law and Anti-Kickback Statute Reforms to Support Value-Based and Coordinated Care.” HHS.gov, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (October 9, 2019). Web.

“CMS, OIG Release Long-Awaited Stark, AKS Proposed Rules.”AHLA. (October 9, 2019). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

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“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2019 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

By |2024-03-14T10:00:08-04:00December 5, 2019|Categories: Health Facilities Law Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on HHS Announces Proposed Rules to Reform Stark Law and AKS Regulations

Florida Pharmacist Gets More Than Six Years in Prison For Role in Compounding Fraud Scheme

Attorney George F. Indest IIIBy George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

On November 29, 2018, a Florida pharmacist was sentenced to six and a half years in prison and ordered to pay $3.4 million, for her role in a scheme to defraud the government. Marjorie Robinson pled guilty one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud for submitting fraudulent claims to Tricare, Medicare and private insurance programs for compounded creams that were not necessary.

The Fraud Scheme.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Robinson was one of three owners of ASC Pharmacy Inc., a now defunct compounding pharmacy in Miami. Under her direction, the pharmacy made compounded creams that were made to maximize reimbursement from government and private insurance programs, not for patients needs, according to the plea deal. Click here to read the press release from the DOJ.

The other owners were charged separately and have also pled guilty.

This isn’t the first time a Florida pharmacy has defrauded government programs like Tricare, click here to read one of my prior blogs on a similar case.

Health Care Fraud Should Not Be Taken Lightly.

We have been consulted by many individuals, both before and after criminal charges were brought for fraud or related offenses. In many cases, those subject to Medicare and Medicaid fraud audits and investigations refuse to acknowledge the seriousness of the matter. Some may even decide not to spend the money required for a highly experienced health attorney to defend them.

Click here to read one of my previous blog posts regarding Medicare and Medicaid audits.

The government is serious about combating health care fraud. It created a Medicare Fraud Strike Force in March of 2007, in an effort to further prevent and eliminate fraud and abuse of government health care programs. False claims are a growing problem in the program, costing the government billions of dollars each year. Accordingly, punishments for defrauding the system can be quite severe.

If you are accused of Medicare or Medicaid fraud, realize that you are in a fight for your life. Your liberty, property/possessions and profession are all at stake. Often it is possible to settle allegations of fraud by agreeing to pay civil monetary penalties and fines. If given such an opportunity, the provider should consider whether it is worth the risk of facing decades in prison. Be prepared to give up whatever you need to in order to avoid a conviction and preserve your liberty.

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late; Consult with a Health Law Attorney Experienced in Medicare and Medicaid Issues Now.

The attorneys of The Health Law Firm represent pharmacists and healthcare providers in Medicare audits, ZPIC audits and RAC audits throughout Florida and across the U.S. They also defend pharmacists, physicians, pharmacies and medical groups in actions by Tricare, Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers to recoup overpayments, obtain civil fines and penalties and take other actions against them. They represent pharmacies and pharmacists in DEA actions and administrative (Order to Show Cause ) hearings, Medicare Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) investigations, and administrative and civil litigation, physicians, medical groups, nursing homes, home health agencies, pharmacies, hospitals and other healthcare providers and institutions in Medicare and Medicaid investigations, audits, recovery actions and termination from the Medicare or Medicaid Program.

For more information please visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com or call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001.

Sources:

Bolado, Carolina. “Fla. Pharmacist Gets 6½ Years For Bogus Claims For Creams.” Law360. (November 29, 2018). Web.

“South Florida pharmacist sentenced to more than six years in prison for role in $3.4 million compounding pharmacy scheme.” MD Linx. (November 30, 2018). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

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“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2018 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

By |2024-03-14T10:00:19-04:00December 26, 2018|Categories: Pharmacy Law Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Florida Pharmacist Gets More Than Six Years in Prison For Role in Compounding Fraud Scheme
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