News and Commentary
LA COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE PRESS RELEASE
LOS ANGELES – A Burbank couple suspected of being the masterminds behind a Medicare scheme that took in $5.8 million in two years was arrested today on multiple counts of money laundering, tax fraud and other charges, the District Attorney’s office announced.
Deputy District Attorney Albert MacKenzie with the Fraud Interdiction Program said Sarkis Musoyan, 37 (dob 9-27-67), and his wife, Azatui Dilboyan, 37 (dob 3-31-68), were arrested at their Burbank home by investigators with the D.A.’s Bureau of Investigation.
Attorney General Bill Lockyer today launched a crackdown on rip offs of the taxpayer-funded Medi-Cal program, announcing he will offer up to a $1,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of providers of health care services and goods who defraud the system.
“This is a triple crime,” said Lockyer. “The money could be used for people who are truly ill and count on Medi-Cal as their only source of health care. Second, people are getting medical procedures they don’t need and putting themselves at risk. And taxpayers’ money is being wasted at a time when the need is great and dollars are precious.”
I’m helping PS-TG put together presentations for the MMIS Conference in August.
You are invited to submit an abstract of a proposed topic to be considered for presentation at the upcoming MMIS conference. Don’t miss this unique opportunity! The MMIS Conference attendees include IT and health care professionals from Medicaid agencies as well as CMS and the government services sector of the health care vendor community. There are numerous benefits to being a speaker, including:
- Your name and State or company name included in conference promotional materials related to speaker session(s)
Sound familiar? This problem has been in the news before. It was exposed by ABC Primetime Live in March 2004. Now Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans have filed a civil lawsuit accusing clinics in Southern California of using runners to recruit many employees from a single workplace to received over-priced and unnecessary services in return for cash.
U.S. Attorney E. Thomas Johnston announced plea agreements of five healthcare fraud cases.
The article describes the settlements with five providers:
- Dr. William C. Dressler of Martinsburg, WV was charged with upcoding.
- Dr. Sadtha Surattanont of Romney, WV agreed to settle charges of upcoding by paying $195,000 and agreeing to five years of monitoring of his participation in Medicaid and Medicare.
- Dr. Harry D. Price of Martinsburg, WV allegedly filed false claims from 1997 to 2002.
However, these doctors were double-paid for many services. If their patients noticed this, shouldn’t the doctors have noticed as well?
“Investigators believe that at least $10 million has been drained from a system whose costs are already harming our economy.” Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi
William Origel, Rebecca Benedict, and Robin Barney were charged with felony counts of insurance fraud, grand theft, and practicing medicine without certification. Origel is the owner of Med-1 Medical Center, P.C., and Unique Healthcare Management, Inc. Origel, with help from Bendict and Barney allegedly over-billed workers’ compensation and auto insurance carriers for services never rendered, services not medically necessary, and for services beyond the scope of their licensed authority to perform.
Are pharmaceutical companies hiding important information that the FDA should see? In addition to this article about missing documents, there has been a lot of attention given lately to possible links between Prozac and suicide. The New York Times Magazine recently featured a cover-story about anti-depressants and links to teenage suicide. There are going to be lawsuits over this for years to come.
The settlement resolves civil liabilities from alleged kickbacks paid to physicians, false statements made to obtain payment for unnecessary services, and payments made to Gambro Supply, a sham DME company.