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Nitin Chhoda, A Licensed Physical Therapist Shares the Most Common Medical Billing Errors to Physical Therapy Practices

May 12, 2013 Leave a comment

More and more healthcare providers have chosen to outsource their medical billing process so that they do not have to worry about committing unnecessary billing and coding errors. Licensed physical therapist, Nitin Chhoda, recently released the most common medical billing errors to practitioners in order to minimize denials on their future medical billing process.

See on www.prweb.com

Recent Criminal and Civil Enforcement Actions

February 15, 2013 Leave a comment

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From Akerman’s Health Law Rx Blog:

POSTED BY JOSEPH W. N. RUGG ON FEBRUARY 15, 2013

In 2009, the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (“HEAT”) initiative was formed as a joint effort between the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services, and combating health care fraud continues to be a major focus of federal and state authorities. The Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) publishes a list of the criminal and civil enforcement actions and the punishment that has been meted out to those convicted of some sort of healthcare fraud. Here are three examples from February listings where jail time or substantial fines or both have been imposed.

  • On February 1, a 50-year-old pharmacist who owned and operated 26 pharmacies in the Detroit area was sentenced to 17 years in prison. The evidence presented at trial showed that during 2006 through 2011 the pharmacies had billed Medicare and Medicaid more than $57 million, at least 25% of which billings were fraudulent as being either medically unnecessary or never actually dispensed. Similar fraudulent activities occurred with respect to commercial insurance. The pharmacist’s business model was to pay kickbacks to physicians in exchange for writing prescriptions for expensive medications or for controlled substances without regard to medical necessity. In addition to the jail time, the defendant was required to repay Medicare and Medicaid $17.3 million and commercial insurers $1.5 million.
  • On February 4, two patient recruiters for a Miami home healthcare company pleaded guilty for their participation in a $20 million home health Medicare fraud scheme. The recruiters admitted that during 2007 through 2009, they recruited patients for which the home health agency could bill Medicare, and the home health agency’s owners paid them kickbacks and bribes. Medicare was billed for home health care and therapy services that were either medically unnecessary or not provided. The recruiters face jail time and fines, and each of the two  home health agency’s owners have already been sentenced to over 6 years in jail.
  • On February 7, St. Joseph’s Medical Center, a hospital located in Towson, MD, agreed to pay $4.9 million in connection with its submission of false claims to Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal healthcare programs. The hospital stated that during 2007 through 2009 it admitted patients for short stays – typically one or two days – that were not warranted by the patient’s medical condition but which would result in larger insurance payments than was appropriate.

If you are aware of potentially fraudulent or even inadvertent noncompliant activities in your healthcare business, you need to seek assistance to fix those problems before they become the object of an investigation. Because former employees and business partners of healthcare providers are often the ones reporting the fraudulent activities to the authorities, problems cannot be ignored.

Since the the above blog was posted on the Akerman Health Law Rx Blog, the following was posted by the OIG:

Cardiologist admits taking cash kickbacks for patient referrals —  According to a February 14, 2013 press release from the Office of the U.S. Attorney, District of New Jersey:

Shashi Agarwal, 60, of Edison, N.J., who has his own cardiology practice in East Orange, N.J., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Claire C. Cecchi in Newark federal court to an Information charging him with one count of soliciting and receiving more than $100,000 in cash kickbacks in violation of the federal health care anti-kickback statute.

Agarwal is the 10th person to plead guilty in the government’s investigation into the scheme to pay cash to health care providers who referred patients to Orange Community MRI, LLC (Orange MRI) in Orange N.J., for diagnostic testing.

Akerman’s Health Law Rx Blog

February 4, 2013 Leave a comment

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I am pleased to announce my firm’s new health law blog, Health Law Rx Blog

Akerman’s Health Law Rx Blog provides timely updates on the latest health law issues, keeping the firm’s clients, friends, and readers up to date on pertinent legal developments. Akerman attorneys regularly update the blog with changes in the law and other relevant news. As this is meant to be an interactive site, your comments and contributions are appreciated.  I am one of the contributors, so I hope you will visit the blog often and participate in any discussions that interest you.  I plan to shadow post articles from the blog that I think you will find interesting.

Content on Akerman’s Health Law Rx Blog is intended to inform you about legal developments, including recent decisions of various courts and administrative bodies. It should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion, and you should not act upon the information without seeking the advice of legal counsel.

With more than 550 lawyers and government affairs professionals and a network of 19 offices, Akerman is ranked among the top 100 law firms in the U.S. by The National Law Journal NLJ 250 (2012). The firm’s Healthcare Practice Group includes over twenty attorneys and professionals representing health systems, physicians, health insurers, and other clients in all aspects of healthcare law across Florida and throughout the United States.

USDOJ – NJ: Former director of diagnostic testing center admits bribing doctors in cash-for-patients scheme

October 20, 2012 Leave a comment

In the following post, note that the dollars involved are relatively modest:

The former executive director of Orange Community MRI LLC, today admitted paying bribes to doctors since April 2008 and agreed to forfeit $89,000 in proceeds from the crime, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.Chirag Patel, 37, of Warren, N.J., pleaded guilty to an Information charging him with one count of soliciting and receiving illegal cash kickbacks for patient referrals in violation of the federal health care anti-kickback statute.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

On Dec. 8, 2011, Patel was arrested and charged with offering and paying cash kickbacks to a New Jersey health care practitioner in exchange for referrals to Orange Community MRI. On Dec. 13, 2011, 13 New Jersey doctors and one nurse practitioner were arrested and charged in separate Complaints with accepting similar cash kickback payments from Orange MRI. Each of the defendants was recorded taking envelopes of cash in exchange for patient referrals.

Patel is the ninth person charged in the December 2011 takedown to plead guilty. Patel is the second member of Orange Community MRI to plead guilty; Ashokkumar Babaria, the former owner and medical director of Orange Community MRI, pleaded guilty on Sept. 27, 2012.

As part of his plea agreement, Patel agreed to forfeit $89,180 that constitutes criminal proceeds of the crime. As part of his guilty plea, Ashokkumar Babaria agreed to forfeit his revenues traceable to corrupt referrals, which the government has estimated could reach as much as $2 million. The seven health care providers that referred patients to Orange MRI who have plead guilty thus far have collectively agreed to forfeit over $150,000 in illegal kickbacks from Orange MRI.

See on www.justice.gov

For an aggregation of other articles on Hot Topics in Healthcare Law, go to my magazine on Scoop.it – Hot Topics in Healthcare Law and Regulation and my newspaper on Paper.li – Hot Topics in Healthcare Law.

For an aggregation of other articles on improving healthcare, go to my internet magazine Scoop.it! Changing Health for the Better.

USDOJ: Medicare Fraud Strike Force Charges 91 Individuals for Approximately $430 Million in False Billing

October 5, 2012 Leave a comment

Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in seven cities have led to charges against 91 individuals – including doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals – for their alleged participation in Medicare fraud schemes involving approximately $429.2 million in false billing, Attorney General Eric Holder and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today.

Attorney General Holder and Secretary Sebelius were joined in the announcement of the nationwide takedown by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, FBI Associate Deputy Director Kevin Perkins, Inspector General Daniel R. Levinson of the HHS Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) and Dr. Peter Budetti, Deputy Administrator for Program Integrity of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

“Today’s enforcement actions reveal an alarming and unacceptable trend of individuals attempting to exploit federal health care programs to steal billions in taxpayer dollars for personal gain,” said Attorney General Holder. “Such activities not only siphon precious taxpayer resources, drive up health care costs, and jeopardize the strength of the Medicare program – they also disproportionately victimize the most vulnerable members of society, including elderly, disabled and impoverished Americans.”

“Today’s arrests put criminals on notice that we are cracking down hard on people who want to steal from Medicare,” said HHS Secretary Sebelius. “The health care law gives us new tools to better fight fraud and make Medicare stronger. In addition to the arrests made today, HHS used new authority from the health care law to stop future payments to many of the health care providers suspected of fraud, saving Medicare resources and taxpayer dollars from being lost to fraud in the first place.”

See on www.justice.gov

For an aggregation of other articles on Hot Topics in Healthcare Law, go to my magazine on Scoop.it – Hot Topics in Healthcare Law and Regulation and my newspaper on Paper.li – Hot Topics in Healthcare Law.

For an aggregation of other articles on improving healthcare, go to my internet magazine Scoop.it! Changing Health for the Better.

Manoj Jain: Doctors need to eliminate waste from healthcare — Memphis Commercial Appeal

September 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Dr. Manoj Jain is an infectious disease physician and also writes for The Washington Post. His articles can be seen on MJainMD.com.

Thirty percent of health care spending — amounting to $750 billion a year — is wasted, according to a recent report by the Institute of Medicine.

I know. As a doctor, I am party to this waste, and I think doctors can play a major role in recovering it.

In a private conversation, a cardiologist tells me about his partners — “loose guns” he calls them. “At the hint of chest pain they will do a cardiac cath and this makes everyone happy,” he says. The patient feels good that something was done, the doctor gains certainty of his presumptive diagnosis and the hospital makes money. While it may seem like a win-win-win, in fact, we all lose as the health care expenditure tops $2 trillion, siphoning funds from education, housing and business innovation.

The IOM report notes that unnecessary services are responsible for nearly a third, or $210 billion, of wasted expenditure.

I, too, order excessive services like CT and MRI scans, without regard to cost. Often these services are in the gray zone of medicine where it is unclear if some procedures are really necessary.

When we doctors talk about waste, we often beat around the bush. We know the system is full of waste, but when confronted we blame the patients or malpractice attorneys.

There is another less-talked-about reason for unnecessary services. One person’s waste is another person’s income. Another cardiac catherization, another back surgery means more income for doctors, hospitals and the health care system and its archaic administrative services.

To reduce waste, doctors need to become integral partners in the cost-cutting process.

See on www.commercialappeal.com

For an aggregation of other articles on Hot Topics in Healthcare Law, go to my magazine on Scoop.it – Hot Topics in Healthcare Law and Regulation and my newspaper on Paper.li – Hot Topics in Healthcare Law.

For an aggregation of other articles on improving healthcare, go to my internet magazine Scoop.it! Changing Health for the Better.

Louisiana Couple sentenced in Medicare fraud case

September 23, 2012 Leave a comment

A Plaquemine couple is headed to federal prison after admitting that they used their medical equipment company to defraud Medicare of slightly more than $1 million.

The couple admitted they billed Medicare for equipment that was either medically unnecessary or never delivered to Medicare beneficiaries. In some cases, Medicare was billed for expensive equipment for which inferior products were substituted.

Between January 2006 and March 2008, according to their charge, the Stewarts and “others known and unknown to the United States attorney” falsely billed Medicare for $1.9 million in power wheelchairs, orthotics and other durable medical equipment.

See on www.fox8live.com

For an aggregation of other articles on Hot Topics in Healthcare Law, go to my magazine on Scoop.it – Hot Topics in Healthcare Law and Regulation and my newspaper on Paper.li – Hot Topics in Healthcare Law.

For an aggregation of other articles on improving healthcare, go to my internet magazine Scoop.it! Changing Health for the Better.

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