25 Charged in Massive Fake Nursing Diploma Scheme in Florida

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

On January 25, 2023, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) launched a multi-state coordinated law enforcement action to apprehend individuals engaged in a scheme to sell false and fraudulent nursing degree diplomas and transcripts. The enforcement action resulted in the execution of search warrants in Delaware, New York, New Jersey, Texas, and Florida. 25 individuals have been charged in the Southern District of Florida for their alleged participation in a fraud scheme that created an illegal licensing and employment shortcut for aspiring nurses.

The defendants include “owners, operators, and employees” of the schools who “prepared and sold the fake nursing school diplomas and transcripts, knowing that the candidates would use those false documents to sit for nursing board examinations, […]

HHS Releases Final Substance Use Disorder Confidentiality Rule

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
On February 8, 2024, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a final rule modifying the Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Patient Records federal regulations (42 C.F.R. Part 2). The new regulation will supposedly help ensure that health care providers have more complete information when treating patients with substance use disorders and improve that regulations compatibility with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Regulations.
Background.
The SUD final rule came out of the bipartisan Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which, among other things, required HHS to align the Part 2 SUD program with HIPAA Privacy, Breach Notification, and Enforcement Rules.
The final rule strengthens confidentiality protections while improving care coordination for […]

Florida Pharmacy Sues Claiming HHS Wrongly Terminated it From Federal PrEP Program

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
On March 25, 2024, a pharmacy in Celebration, Florida, alleged HHS abruptly terminated it from a federal program that provides free access to preexposure prophylaxis HIV-prevention (PrEP) medication. Turner Brothers Inc., which does business as Turner Drugs, filed a motion in its lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction.  In the motion, Turner Drugs asked a D.C. federal judge to force the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and two contractors to reinstate it to the program. To view the motion, click here.
The pharmacy says it is owed $3.1 million for nearly 1,500 already-approved prescriptions, but the payments have been withheld following its termination. The […]
By |2024-04-09T13:29:10-04:00May 20, 2024|Categories: The Health Law Firm Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Florida Pharmacy Sues Claiming HHS Wrongly Terminated it From Federal PrEP Program

Humana Health Insurer To Pay $11.2 Million to End Nurses’ Overtime Suit

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

On September 27, 2021, Humana agreed to pay $11.2 million to end claims that the health insurance company denied a group of nurses overtime pay by misclassifying them as exempt employees. A Wisconsin federal judge approved the deal with Humana, and a group of more than 200 nurses reached, securing a $36,000 average payment for each nurse involved in the suit.

A Violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

This dispute stems from a class-action lawsuit filed in 2017 alleging that Humana misclassified its clinical nurse advisers as exempt employees and denied them overtime compensation, violating the Fair Labor Standards Act.  Many professionals and supervisors or managerial employees are considered to be exempt from overtime laws.

In the suit, the company faced allegations from nurses who […]

Texas Hospital’s COVID Vaccination Mandate Upheld by Federal Court

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

As some states lift COVID-19 restrictions, the business community is still grappling with the dynamic between the COVID-19 vaccine and workplace operations. To address this, some U.S. employers have elected to adopt mandatory vaccination policies. These policies, in essence, require that, subject to a few exceptions, all employees must receive the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of continued employment.

Not surprisingly, we see various legal challenges to mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies across the country. On June 12, 2021, a federal court in Texas became the first to rule on the permissibility of such policies enforced by private employers. In a landmark ruling, the court stated that mandatory workplace vaccination policies are lawful under Texas and federal law and may be enforced as a condition […]

Florida Pharmacy Sues Claiming HHS Wrongly Terminated it from Federal PrEP Program

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
On March 25, 2024, a pharmacy in Celebration, Florida, alleged HHS abruptly terminated it from a federal program that provides free access to preexposure prophylaxis HIV-prevention (PrEP) medication. Turner Brothers Inc., which does business as Turner Drugs, filed a motion in its lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction.  In the motion, Turner Drugs asked a D.C. federal judge to force the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and two contractors to reinstate it to the program. To view the motion, click here.
The pharmacy says it is owed $3.1 million for nearly 1,500 already-approved prescriptions, but the payments have been withheld following its termination. The […]
By |2024-04-09T13:26:15-04:00May 9, 2024|Categories: Health Facilities Law Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Florida Pharmacy Sues Claiming HHS Wrongly Terminated it from Federal PrEP Program

HHS Releases Final Substance Use Disorder Confidentiality Rule

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

On February 8, 2024, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a final rule modifying the Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Patient Records federal regulations (42 C.F.R. Part 2). The new regulation will supposedly help ensure that health care providers have more complete information when treating patients with substance use disorders and improve that regulations compatibility with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Regulations.

Background.

The SUD final rule came out of the bipartisan Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which, among other things, required HHS to align the Part 2 SUD program with HIPAA Privacy, Breach Notification, and Enforcement Rules.

The final rule strengthens confidentiality protections while improving care coordination for patients and providers. Patients can seek needed […]

Florida Man Pleads Guilty To $36.2 Million Telehealth Medicare Fraud Scheme

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

On March 20th, 2024, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, in the Middle District of Florida, announced that a Florida man pled guilty to conspiring to commit health care fraud in a $36.2 million telemedicine fraud scheme. As part of the scheme, the Fort Lauderdale-based pharmacy owner paid kickbacks and bribes to telemarketers and telemedicine providers for medically unnecessary prescriptions that were billed to Medicare.

Kickbacks & Bribes to Telemarketing Companies.

According to the plea agreement, the Fort Lauderdale-based, Florida man and his co-conspirators owned and operated pharmacies participating in the Medicare program. From September 2018 through November 2021, they paid kickbacks and bribes to telemarketing companies in exchange for recruiting Medicare beneficiaries to accept prescriptions for various medications that the patients did not want or need. The Florida man […]

Florida Pharmacy Sues Claiming HHS Wrongly Terminated it From Federal PrEP Program

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
On March 25, 2024, a pharmacy in Celebration, Florida, alleged HHS abruptly terminated it from a federal program that provides free access to preexposure prophylaxis HIV-prevention (PrEP) medication. Turner Brothers Inc., which does business as Turner Drugs, filed a motion in its lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction.  In the motion, Turner Drugs asked a D.C. federal judge to force the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and two contractors to reinstate it to the program. To view the motion, click here.
The pharmacy says it is owed $3.1 million for nearly 1,500 already-approved prescriptions, but the payments have been withheld following its termination. The […]
By |2024-04-09T13:24:25-04:00April 30, 2024|Categories: The Health Law Firm Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Florida Pharmacy Sues Claiming HHS Wrongly Terminated it From Federal PrEP Program

Florida Man Pleads Guilty To $36.2 Million Telehealth 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

On March 20th, 2024, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, in the Middle District of Florida, announced that a Florida man pled guilty to conspiring to commit health care fraud in a $36.2 million telemedicine fraud scheme. As part of the scheme, the Fort Lauderdale-based pharmacy owner paid kickbacks and bribes to telemarketers and telemedicine providers for medically unnecessary prescriptions that were billed to Medicare.

Kickbacks & Bribes to Telemarketing Companies.

According to the plea agreement, the Fort Lauderdale-based, Florida man and his co-conspirators owned and operated pharmacies participating in the Medicare program. From September 2018 through November 2021, they paid kickbacks and bribes to telemarketing companies in exchange for recruiting Medicare beneficiaries to accept prescriptions for various medications that the patients did […]

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