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.

Florida Pharmacy Owner Pleads Guilty For Role in $8.3 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme

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

On September 27, 2022, a Florida pharmacy owner pled guilty to conspiring to commit healthcare fraud in an $8.3 million scheme. The scheme involved securing orders for medically unnecessary prescriptions billed to Medicare and paying bribes and kickbacks, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced. Read the DOJ’s press release here. Read the DOJ’s press release here.

The Fraudulent Scheme.

Michael Murphy allegedly invested in Cure Pharmacy in Jacksonville, Florida, and two other pharmacies participated in the Medicare program. From around November 2019 through March 2021, the government alleged, Murphy and his co-conspirators paid kickbacks and bribes to telemarketing companies to recruit Medicare beneficiaries to accept prescriptions for various medications. According to court documents, the medicines were mainly topical creams, which the beneficiaries usually did not want or need.

Additionally, they paid kickbacks and bribes to telemedicine companies that employed or contracted with physicians who signed the prescriptions. According to court documents, the physicians typically signed the prescriptions after a cursory telephone conversation or without contact with beneficiaries. After obtaining Medicare beneficiary information and the signed medications, the pharmacy owner and co-conspirators submitted claims to Medicare, sometimes through multiple pharmacies they owned and controlled in practice known as “recycling.”
In total, they were reimbursed $8.3 million by Medicare Part D.

The Repercussions of the Guilty Plea to Conspiracy to Commit Health Care Fraud.

Murphy pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud. He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison. According to the DOJ, a federal district court judge will determine his actual sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Click here to read about a similar case involving a Florida pharmacy owner.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Representing Pharmacies and Pharmacists.

The Health Law Firm represents pharmacists and pharmacies in DEA, DOH, and FDA investigations, qui tam and whistleblower cases, regulatory matters, licensing issues, litigation, administrative hearings, inspections, and audits. The firm’s attorneys include those who are board certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law, as well as licensed health professionals who are also attorneys.

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

Sources:

American Health Law Association. “Pharmacy Owner Pleads Guilty in $8.3 Million Fraud Scheme.” AHLA Health Law Weekly. (September 30, 2022). Web.

“Pharmacy Owner Pleads Guilty in $8.3 Million Fraud Scheme.” Bloomburg Law. (September 30, 2022). 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. Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620. 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.

KeyWords: False Claims Act defense attorney, FCA legal counsel, FCA defense lawyer, Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) defense attorney, FCA representation, legal representation violating False Claims Act, pharmaceutical fraud lawyer, compounding pharmacy attorney, fraudulent practices of pharmaceutical companies, FCA violations attorney, health care fraud representation, DEA defense representation,  health law defense attorney, health care fraud defense attorney, The Health Law Firm, representation for health care fraud investigations, compounding pharmacy lawyer, prescription reimbursement representation, pharmacy defense attorney, pharmacist defense lawyer, representation for pharmacies, representation for pharmacists, legal representation for health care facilities, representation for health care professionals, U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation representation, DOJ defense attorney, representation for DOJ matters, attorney reviews of The Health Law Firm, The Health Law Firm attorney reviews, defense of Medicare audits and investigations, Medicaid audits and investigations, pharmacy and pharmacists audits, defense of DEA investigations and subpoenas and audits, Medicaid audit defense lawyer, representation for DEA investigation, pharmacy defense lawyer

“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.

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.

Florida Attorney Says AHCA Must Put Medicaid Final Orders Online

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

Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) has come under fire for failing to make Medicaid final orders accessible to the public. On April 11, 2023, an attorney asked a Florida appeals court to revive her suit against AHCA, trying to force AHCA into compliance with state public records laws.

Attorney Nancy Wright says the AHCA orders fall under a state law that requires all proceedings determined by a state agency to be placed into a centralized electronic database accessible to the public. This would allow citizens and healthcare providers more accessible access to those decisions and transparency when understanding Medicaid policies and decisions made by AHCA.

Access to Medicaid Final Orders.

The plaintiff’s attorney argued before a three-judge panel of the court of appeal that she should not be required to pay hundreds of dollars to gain access to Medicaid final orders to prepare for clients’ Medicaid hearings when the law requires the agency to publish these. The attorney further argued that this fee was an unfair and unjustified barrier to justice and that she should be given free access to these orders to ensure that she could provide the best possible representation for her clients.

More Details of the Case.

The Florida Health Justice Project and the National Health Law Program filed the lawsuit against AHCA on behalf of Wright in December 2020 in the First District Court of Appeal of Florida.
“[Medicaid law’s] notorious complexity and rapid regulatory changes put even lawyers on edge,” she said in a statement at the time she filed her suit. “AHCA’s unwillingness to make their [sic] final orders accessible means that I am not able to fully advise my clients on how and why decisions on services are being made. For the many enrollees who are unrepresented, this lack of transparency makes a complicated system almost impossible to navigate.”

Click here to view the press release from The Florida Health Justice Project.

However, the trial court sided with AHCA and granted summary judgment to the agency.

The Appeal.

The Elder Law Section of the Florida Bar expressed their support for Wright and submitted an amicus brief on appeal. They highlighted that the Florida Department of Children and Families regulates Medicaid eligibility proceedings with the same law that provides authority to AHCA. Furthermore, the Department publishes its final orders in an electronic database, making them readily available to the public.

However, accessing these same orders on Medicaid coverage requires a public records request which can be costly and time-consuming. The Elder Law Section argued in its brief that this disparity is unfair as it burdens those attempting to gain access to said records. The brief further suggested that upholding the trial court’s summary judgment would only perpetuate this inequality of access to public records.

To learn more, read the complaint in full here.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Handling Medicaid Audits, Investigations, and other Legal Proceedings

Physicians, therapists, counselors and other health professionals who accept Medicaid are routinely audited by the Medicaid Program to detect any overpayments or fraudulent claims. Medicaid fraud is a serious crime and is vigorously investigated by the state Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU), the Agency for Healthcare Administration (AHCA), Program Integrity Contractors (PICs), the FBI, and the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Often other state and federal agencies, including the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), and other law enforcement agencies may also participate. Don’t wait until it’s too late. If you are concerned of any possible violations and would like a confidential consultation, contact a qualified health law attorney familiar with medical billing and audits today. Often Medicaid fraud criminal charges arise out of routine Medicaid audits, probe audits, or patient complaints.

The Health Law Firm’s attorneys routinely represent physicians, dentists, orthodontists, medical groups, clinics, pharmacies, mental health counselors, therapists, home health care agencies, nursing homes, group homes and other healthcare providers in Medicaid and Medicare investigations, audits and recovery actions.

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 Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., 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.
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Florida Attorney Says AHCA Must Put Medicaid Final Orders Online

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

Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) has come under fire for failing to make Medicaid final orders accessible to the public. On April 11, 2023, an attorney asked a Florida appeals court to revive her suit against AHCA, trying to force AHCA into compliance with state public records laws.

Attorney Nancy Wright says the AHCA orders fall under a state law that requires all proceedings determined by a state agency to be placed into a centralized electronic database accessible to the public. This would allow citizens and healthcare providers more accessible access to those decisions and transparency when understanding Medicaid policies and decisions made by AHCA.

Access to Medicaid Final Orders.

The plaintiff’s attorney argued before a three-judge panel of the court of appeal that she should not be required to pay hundreds of dollars to gain access to Medicaid final orders to prepare for clients’ Medicaid hearings when the law requires the agency to publish these. The attorney further argued that this fee was an unfair and unjustified barrier to justice and that she should be given free access to these orders to ensure that she could provide the best possible representation for her clients.

More Details of the Case.

The Florida Health Justice Project and the National Health Law Program filed the lawsuit against AHCA on behalf of Wright in December 2020 in the First District Court of Appeal of Florida.
“[Medicaid law’s] notorious complexity and rapid regulatory changes put even lawyers on edge,” she said in a statement at the time she filed her suit. “AHCA’s unwillingness to make their [sic] final orders accessible means that I am not able to fully advise my clients on how and why decisions on services are being made. For the many enrollees who are unrepresented, this lack of transparency makes a complicated system almost impossible to navigate.”

Click here to view the press release from The Florida Health Justice Project.

However, the trial court sided with AHCA and granted summary judgment to the agency.

The Appeal.

The Elder Law Section of the Florida Bar expressed their support for Wright and submitted an amicus brief on appeal. They highlighted that the Florida Department of Children and Families regulates Medicaid eligibility proceedings with the same law that provides authority to AHCA. Furthermore, the Department publishes its final orders in an electronic database, making them readily available to the public.

However, accessing these same orders on Medicaid coverage requires a public records request which can be costly and time-consuming. The Elder Law Section argued in its brief that this disparity is unfair as it burdens those attempting to gain access to said records. The brief further suggested that upholding the trial court’s summary judgment would only perpetuate this inequality of access to public records.

To learn more, read the complaint in full here.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Handling Medicaid Audits, Investigations, and other Legal Proceedings

Physicians, therapists, counselors and other health professionals who accept Medicaid are routinely audited by the Medicaid Program to detect any overpayments or fraudulent claims. Medicaid fraud is a serious crime and is vigorously investigated by the state Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU), the Agency for Healthcare Administration (AHCA), Program Integrity Contractors (PICs), the FBI, and the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Often other state and federal agencies, including the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), and other law enforcement agencies may also participate. Don’t wait until it’s too late. If you are concerned of any possible violations and would like a confidential consultation, contact a qualified health law attorney familiar with medical billing and audits today. Often Medicaid fraud criminal charges arise out of routine Medicaid audits, probe audits, or patient complaints.

The Health Law Firm’s attorneys routinely represent physicians, dentists, orthodontists, medical groups, clinics, pharmacies, mental health counselors, therapists, home health care agencies, nursing homes, group homes and other healthcare providers in Medicaid and Medicare investigations, audits and recovery actions.

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 Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., 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.

Florida Attorney Says AHCA Must Put Medicaid Final Orders Online

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

Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) has come under fire for failing to make Medicaid final orders accessible to the public. On April 11, 2023, an attorney asked a Florida appeals court to revive her suit against AHCA, trying to force AHCA into compliance with state public records laws.

Attorney Nancy Wright says the AHCA orders fall under a state law that requires all proceedings determined by a state agency to be placed into a centralized electronic database accessible to the public. This would allow citizens and healthcare providers more accessible access to those decisions and transparency when understanding Medicaid policies and decisions made by AHCA.

Access to Medicaid Final Orders.

The plaintiff’s attorney argued before a three-judge panel of the court of appeal that she should not be required to pay hundreds of dollars to gain access to Medicaid final orders to prepare for clients’ Medicaid hearings when the law requires the agency to publish these. The attorney further argued that this fee was an unfair and unjustified barrier to justice and that she should be given free access to these orders to ensure that she could provide the best possible representation for her clients.

More Details of the Case.

The Florida Health Justice Project and the National Health Law Program filed the lawsuit against AHCA on behalf of Wright in December 2020 in the First District Court of Appeal of Florida.
“[Medicaid law’s] notorious complexity and rapid regulatory changes put even lawyers on edge,” she said in a statement at the time she filed her suit. “AHCA’s unwillingness to make their [sic] final orders accessible means that I am not able to fully advise my clients on how and why decisions on services are being made. For the many enrollees who are unrepresented, this lack of transparency makes a complicated system almost impossible to navigate.”

Click here to view the press release from The Florida Health Justice Project.

However, the trial court sided with AHCA and granted summary judgment to the agency.

The Appeal.

The Elder Law Section of the Florida Bar expressed their support for Wright and submitted an amicus brief on appeal. They highlighted that the Florida Department of Children and Families regulates Medicaid eligibility proceedings with the same law that provides authority to AHCA. Furthermore, the Department publishes its final orders in an electronic database, making them readily available to the public.

However, accessing these same orders on Medicaid coverage requires a public records request which can be costly and time-consuming. The Elder Law Section argued in its brief that this disparity is unfair as it burdens those attempting to gain access to said records. The brief further suggested that upholding the trial court’s summary judgment would only perpetuate this inequality of access to public records.

To learn more, read the complaint in full here.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Handling Medicaid Audits, Investigations, and other Legal Proceedings

Physicians, therapists, counselors and other health professionals who accept Medicaid are routinely audited by the Medicaid Program to detect any overpayments or fraudulent claims. Medicaid fraud is a serious crime and is vigorously investigated by the state Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU), the Agency for Healthcare Administration (AHCA), Program Integrity Contractors (PICs), the FBI, and the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Often other state and federal agencies, including the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), and other law enforcement agencies may also participate. Don’t wait until it’s too late. If you are concerned of any possible violations and would like a confidential consultation, contact a qualified health law attorney familiar with medical billing and audits today. Often Medicaid fraud criminal charges arise out of routine Medicaid audits, probe audits, or patient complaints.

The Health Law Firm’s attorneys routinely represent physicians, dentists, orthodontists, medical groups, clinics, pharmacies, mental health counselors, therapists, home health care agencies, nursing homes, group homes and other healthcare providers in Medicaid and Medicare investigations, audits and recovery actions.

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 Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., 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.

Florida Attorney Says AHCA Must Put Medicaid Final Orders Online

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

Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) has come under fire for failing to make Medicaid final orders accessible to the public. On April 11, 2023, an attorney asked a Florida appeals court to revive her suit against AHCA, trying to force AHCA into compliance with state public records laws.

Attorney Nancy Wright says the AHCA orders fall under a state law that requires all proceedings determined by a state agency to be placed into a centralized electronic database accessible to the public. This would allow citizens and healthcare providers more accessible access to those decisions and transparency when understanding Medicaid policies and decisions made by AHCA.

Access to Medicaid Final Orders.

The plaintiff’s attorney argued before a three-judge panel of the court of appeal that she should not be required to pay hundreds of dollars to gain access to Medicaid final orders to prepare for clients’ Medicaid hearings when the law requires the agency to publish these. The attorney further argued that this fee was an unfair and unjustified barrier to justice and that she should be given free access to these orders to ensure that she could provide the best possible representation for her clients.

More Details of the Case.

The Florida Health Justice Project and the National Health Law Program filed the lawsuit against AHCA on behalf of Wright in December 2020 in the First District Court of Appeal of Florida.
“[Medicaid law’s] notorious complexity and rapid regulatory changes put even lawyers on edge,” she said in a statement at the time she filed her suit. “AHCA’s unwillingness to make their [sic] final orders accessible means that I am not able to fully advise my clients on how and why decisions on services are being made. For the many enrollees who are unrepresented, this lack of transparency makes a complicated system almost impossible to navigate.”

Click here to view the press release from The Florida Health Justice Project.

However, the trial court sided with AHCA and granted summary judgment to the agency.

The Appeal.

The Elder Law Section of the Florida Bar expressed their support for Wright and submitted an amicus brief on appeal. They highlighted that the Florida Department of Children and Families regulates Medicaid eligibility proceedings with the same law that provides authority to AHCA. Furthermore, the Department publishes its final orders in an electronic database, making them readily available to the public.

However, accessing these same orders on Medicaid coverage requires a public records request which can be costly and time-consuming. The Elder Law Section argued in its brief that this disparity is unfair as it burdens those attempting to gain access to said records. The brief further suggested that upholding the trial court’s summary judgment would only perpetuate this inequality of access to public records.

To learn more, read the complaint in full here.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Handling Medicaid Audits, Investigations, and other Legal Proceedings

Physicians, therapists, counselors and other health professionals who accept Medicaid are routinely audited by the Medicaid Program to detect any overpayments or fraudulent claims. Medicaid fraud is a serious crime and is vigorously investigated by the state Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU), the Agency for Healthcare Administration (AHCA), Program Integrity Contractors (PICs), the FBI, and the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Often other state and federal agencies, including the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), and other law enforcement agencies may also participate. Don’t wait until it’s too late. If you are concerned of any possible violations and would like a confidential consultation, contact a qualified health law attorney familiar with medical billing and audits today. Often Medicaid fraud criminal charges arise out of routine Medicaid audits, probe audits, or patient complaints.

The Health Law Firm’s attorneys routinely represent physicians, dentists, orthodontists, medical groups, clinics, pharmacies, mental health counselors, therapists, home health care agencies, nursing homes, group homes and other healthcare providers in Medicaid and Medicare investigations, audits and recovery actions.

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 Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., 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.

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.

 

 

 

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