Director of Texas Office of e-Health Coodination To Discuss Texas HIE Strategy in 3/14 HHS Sponsored Teleconference

March 14, 2012

On Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 1 p.m. EDT, National eHealth Collaborative’s http://links.govdelivery.com/track?type=click&enid=ZWFzPTEmbWFpbGluZ2lkPTIwMTIwMzEzLjYxMzk0MTEmbWVzc2FnZWlkPU1EQi1QUkQtQlVMLTIwMTIwMzEzLjYxMzk0MTEmZGF0YWJhc2VpZD0xMDAxJnNlcmlhbD0xNjkxMDkxOSZlbWFpbGlkPWNzdGFtZXJAc29sdXRpb25zbGF3eWVyLm5ldCZ1c2VyaWQ9Y3N0YW1lckBzb2x1dGlvbnNsYXd5ZXIubmV0JmZsPSZleHRyYT1NdWx0aXZhcmlhdGVJZD0mJiY=&&&102&&&http://www.nationalehealth.org/program/nehc-university<br />
NeHC University” href=”http://links.govdelivery.com/track?type=click&enid=ZWFzPTEmbWFpbGluZ2lkPTIwMTIwMzEzLjYxMzk0MTEmbWVzc2FnZWlkPU1EQi1QUkQtQlVMLTIwMTIwMzEzLjYxMzk0MTEmZGF0YWJhc2VpZD0xMDAxJnNlcmlhbD0xNjkxMDkxOSZlbWFpbGlkPWNzdGFtZXJAc29sdXRpb25zbGF3eWVyLm5ldCZ1c2VyaWQ9Y3N0YW1lckBzb2x1dGlvbnNsYXd5ZXIubmV0JmZsPSZleHRyYT1NdWx0aXZhcmlhdGVJZD0mJiY=&&&102&&&http://www.nationalehealth.org/program/nehc-university&#8221;>NeHC University will host Stephen Palmer, Director of the Office of e-Health Coordination at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, to describe the HIE strategy being pursued by the state of Texas. Palmer will be joined by Kem McClelland of the Integrated Care Collaboration, Tony Gilman of the Texas Health Services Authority, and Bryan White of the North Texas Accountable Healthcare Partnership to showcase the Texas strategy in action and detail the progress that has been made on the ground. 

To participate http://links.govdelivery.com/track?type=click&enid=ZWFzPTEmbWFpbGluZ2lkPTIwMTIwMzEzLjYxMzk0MTEmbWVzc2FnZWlkPU1EQi1QUkQtQlVMLTIwMTIwMzEzLjYxMzk0MTEmZGF0YWJhc2VpZD0xMDAxJnNlcmlhbD0xNjkxMDkxOSZlbWFpbGlkPWNzdGFtZXJAc29sdXRpb25zbGF3eWVyLm5ldCZ1c2VyaWQ9Y3N0YW1lckBzb2x1dGlvbnNsYXd5ZXIubmV0JmZsPSZleHRyYT1NdWx0aXZhcmlhdGVJZD0mJiY=&&&103&&&https://nationalehealthevents.webex.com/mw0306l/mywebex/default.do?nomenu=true&siteurl=nationalehealthevents&service=6&main_url=https://nationalehealthevents.webex.com/ec0605l/eventcenter/event/eventAction.do?theAction=detail&confViewID=280361112&siteurl=nationalehealthevents&&&<br />
Register for NeHC University program” href=”http://links.govdelivery.com/track?type=click&enid=ZWFzPTEmbWFpbGluZ2lkPTIwMTIwMzEzLjYxMzk0MTEmbWVzc2FnZWlkPU1EQi1QUkQtQlVMLTIwMTIwMzEzLjYxMzk0MTEmZGF0YWJhc2VpZD0xMDAxJnNlcmlhbD0xNjkxMDkxOSZlbWFpbGlkPWNzdGFtZXJAc29sdXRpb25zbGF3eWVyLm5ldCZ1c2VyaWQ9Y3N0YW1lckBzb2x1dGlvbnNsYXd5ZXIubmV0JmZsPSZleHRyYT1NdWx0aXZhcmlhdGVJZD0mJiY=&&&103&&&https://nationalehealthevents.webex.com/mw0306l/mywebex/default.do?nomenu=true&siteurl=nationalehealthevents&service=6&main_url=https%3A%2F%2Fnationalehealthevents.webex.com%2Fec0605l%2Feventcenter%2Fevent%2FeventAction.do%3FtheAction%3Ddetail%26confViewID%3D280361112%26siteurl%3Dnationalehealthevents%26%26%26&#8243;>register and join NeHC University’s http://links.govdelivery.com/track?type=click&enid=ZWFzPTEmbWFpbGluZ2lkPTIwMTIwMzEzLjYxMzk0MTEmbWVzc2FnZWlkPU1EQi1QUkQtQlVMLTIwMTIwMzEzLjYxMzk0MTEmZGF0YWJhc2VpZD0xMDAxJnNlcmlhbD0xNjkxMDkxOSZlbWFpbGlkPWNzdGFtZXJAc29sdXRpb25zbGF3eWVyLm5ldCZ1c2VyaWQ9Y3N0YW1lckBzb2x1dGlvbnNsYXd5ZXIubmV0JmZsPSZleHRyYT1NdWx0aXZhcmlhdGVJZD0mJiY=&&&104&&&http://www.nationalehealth.org/Texas<br />
Spotlight on the Texas Statewide HIE Strategy” href=”http://links.govdelivery.com/track?type=click&enid=ZWFzPTEmbWFpbGluZ2lkPTIwMTIwMzEzLjYxMzk0MTEmbWVzc2FnZWlkPU1EQi1QUkQtQlVMLTIwMTIwMzEzLjYxMzk0MTEmZGF0YWJhc2VpZD0xMDAxJnNlcmlhbD0xNjkxMDkxOSZlbWFpbGlkPWNzdGFtZXJAc29sdXRpb25zbGF3eWVyLm5ldCZ1c2VyaWQ9Y3N0YW1lckBzb2x1dGlvbnNsYXd5ZXIubmV0JmZsPSZleHRyYT1NdWx0aXZhcmlhdGVJZD0mJiY=&&&104&&&http://www.nationalehealth.org/Texas&#8221;>Spotlight on the Texas Statewide HIE Strategy.

For Help With Monitoring Developments, Compliance, Investigations Or Other Needs

If you need assistance monitoring federal health reform, policy or enforcement developments, or to review or respond to these or other health care or health IT related risk management, compliance, enforcement or management concerns, the author of this update, attorney Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, can help.  Vice President of the North Texas Health Care Compliance Professionals Association, Past Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Section and the former Board Compliance Chair of the National Kidney Foundation of North Texas, Ms. Stamer has more than 24 years experience advising health industry clients about these and other matters. Ms. Stamer has extensive experience advising and assisting health care providers, health plans, their business associates and other health industry clients to establish and administer medical privacy and other compliance and risk management policies, to health care industry investigation, enforcement and other compliance, public policy, regulatory, staffing, and other operations and risk management concerns. She regularly designs and presents HIPAA and other risk management, compliance and other training for health plans, employers, health care providers, professional associations and others.   

Ms. Stamer also regularly works with OCR and other agencies, publishes and speaks extensively on medical and other privacy and data security, health and managed care industry regulatory, staffing and human resources, compensation and benefits, technology, public policy, reimbursement and other operations and risk management concerns.  Her publications and insights appear in the Health Care Compliance Association, Atlantic Information Service, Bureau of National Affairs, World At Work, The Wall Street Journal, Business Insurance, the Dallas Morning News, Modern Health Care, Managed Healthcare, Health Leaders, and a many other national and local publications.   For instance, Ms. Stamer for the second year will serve as the appointed scribe for the ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits Agency meeting with OCR.  Her insights on HIPAA risk management and compliance frequently appear in medical privacy related publications of a broad range of health care, health plan and other industry publications Among others, she has conducted privacy training for the Association of State & Territorial Health Plans (ASTHO), the Los Angeles Health Department, the American Bar Association, the Health Care Compliance Association, a multitude of health industry, health plan, insurance and financial services, education, employer employee benefit and other clients, trade and professional associations and others.

You can get more information about her HIPAA and other experience here.

If you need assistance with these or other compliance concerns, wish to inquire about arranging for compliance audit or training, or need legal representation on other matters please contact Ms. Stamer at (469) 767-8872 or via e-mail here.

If you need help investigating or responding to a known or suspected compliance, litigation or enforcement or other risk management concern, assistance with reviewing, updating, administering or defending a current or proposed employment, employee benefit, compensation or other management practice, wish to inquire about federal or state regulatory compliance audits, risk management or training, or need legal representation on other matters please contact Ms Stamer here or at (469) 767-8872.


[1] The Breach Notification Rule also requires that covered entities report smaller breaches annually to OCR as part of a consolidated disclosure.

For more tips, see here.

For Help With Monitoring Developments, Compliance, Investigations Or Other Needs

If you need assistance monitoring federal health reform, policy or enforcement developments, or to review or respond to these or other health care or health IT related risk management, compliance, enforcement or management concerns, the author of this update, attorney Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, can help.  Vice President of the North Texas Health Care Compliance Professionals Association, Past Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Section and the former Board Compliance Chair of the National Kidney Foundation of North Texas, Ms. Stamer has more than 24 years experience advising health industry clients about these and other matters. Ms. Stamer has extensive experience advising and assisting health care providers, health plans, their business associates and other health industry clients to establish and administer medical privacy and other compliance and risk management policies, to health care industry investigation, enforcement and other compliance, public policy, regulatory, staffing, and other operations and risk management concerns. She regularly designs and presents HIPAA and other risk management, compliance and other training for health plans, employers, health care providers, professional associations and others.   

Ms. Stamer also regularly works with OCR and other agencies, publishes and speaks extensively on medical and other privacy and data security, health and managed care industry regulatory, staffing and human resources, compensation and benefits, technology, public policy, reimbursement and other operations and risk management concerns.  Her publications and insights appear in the Health Care Compliance Association, Atlantic Information Service, Bureau of National Affairs, World At Work, The Wall Street Journal, Business Insurance, the Dallas Morning News, Modern Health Care, Managed Healthcare, Health Leaders, and a many other national and local publications.   For instance, Ms. Stamer for the second year will serve as the appointed scribe for the ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits Agency meeting with OCR.  Her insights on HIPAA risk management and compliance frequently appear in medical privacy related publications of a broad range of health care, health plan and other industry publications Among others, she has conducted privacy training for the Association of State & Territorial Health Plans (ASTHO), the Los Angeles Health Department, the American Bar Association, the Health Care Compliance Association, a multitude of health industry, health plan, insurance and financial services, education, employer employee benefit and other clients, trade and professional associations and others.

You can get more information about her HIPAA and other experience here.

If you need assistance with these or other compliance concerns, wish to inquire about arranging for compliance audit or training, or need legal representation on other matters please contact Ms. Stamer at (469) 767-8872 or via e-mail here.

If you need help investigating or responding to a known or suspected compliance, litigation or enforcement or other risk management concern, assistance with reviewing, updating, administering or defending a current or proposed employment, employee benefit, compensation or other management practice, wish to inquire about federal or state regulatory compliance audits, risk management or training, or need legal representation on other matters please contact Ms Stamer here or at (469) 767-8872.

Other Recent Updates & Resources

If you found this information of interest, you also may be interested in the following recent updates on health care, health plan and employee benefits, human resources and other risk management and compliance matters.  Recent examples on health care compliance and risk management matters include:

For additional resources and publications training materials by Ms. Stamer, see here.  

If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns, please be sure that we have your current contact information – including your preferred e-mail – by creating or updating your profile here. For important information concerning this communication click here.  If you do not wish to receive these updates in the future, send an e-mail with the word “Remove” in the Subject to here.

©2012 Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, P.C. nonexclusive license to republish granted to Solutions Law Press, Inc.  All other rights reserved.


[*] The Breach Notification Rule also requires that covered entities report smaller breaches annually to OCR as part of a consolidated disclosure.


Halfway House Owner Gets 24 Months Imprisonment For Health Care Fraud & Kickback Conviction

March 14, 2012

 Broward County, Florida halfway house owner and operator Barry Nash was sentenced to to 24 months in prison followed by three years of supervised relief for his role in a Medicare fraud kickback scheme that funneled patients through a fraudulent mental health company, the Department of Justice, the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced today (March 13, 2012).

 Nash pleaded guilty on Jan. 9, 2012, to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. In his guilty plea, Nash admitted that, in exchange for illegal health care kickbacks, he agreed to refer Medicare beneficiaries who resided at Starter House to American Therapeutic Corporation (ATC) and American Sleep Institute (ASI), a company related to ATC.  Nash knew that ATC and ASI fraudulently billed Medicare for partial hospitalization program (PHP) services and sleep treatment purportedly provided to his referrals.

PHP is a form of intensive mental health treatment.

According to court documents, ATC’s principals paid kickbacks to owners and operators of assisted living facilities and halfway houses and to patient brokers in exchange for delivering ineligible patients to ATC and ASI.  In some cases, the patients received a portion of those kickbacks.  Throughout the course of the ATC conspiracy, millions of dollars in kickbacks were paid in exchange for Medicare beneficiaries who did not qualify for PHP services.

Ultimately, the Justice Department alledges ATC and ASI billed Medicare for more than $200 million in medically unnecessary services.

According to the plea agreement, Nash’s participation in the fraud resulted in more than $959,901 in fraudulent billing to the Medicare program. 

ATC, its management company Medlink Professional Management Group Inc., and various owners, managers, doctors, therapists, patient brokers and marketers of ATC, Medlink and ASI, were charged with various health care fraud, kickback, money laundering and other offenses in two indictments unsealed on Feb. 15, 2011.  ATC, Medlink and nine of the individual defendants have pleaded guilty or have been convicted at trial.  Other defendants are scheduled for trial April 9, 2012, before U.S. District Judge Patricia A. Seitz.

Feds Continue To Turn Up HEAT on Health Care Fraud

The prosecution of Nash and other defendants charged in connection with the Florida mental health investigation are one of a growing number of prosecutions and convictions resulting from the federal HEAT Task Force health care fraud enforcement efforts empowered with new data mining, statistical profiling and other new fraud fighting resources created under the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (Affordable Care Act) and other recently enacted laws.  Using these new tools,  the HEAT Task Force and other federal health care fraud investigators are enjoying record successes in deploying these tools to achieve successful health care fraud prosecutions.  Government’s health care fraud prevention and enforcement efforts recovered nearly $4.1 billion in taxpayer dollars in Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 according to the FY 2011 Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control Program Report  jointly released by HHS and the Justice Department on February 14, 2012.

Health Care Providers Must Act To Manage Risks

In response to the growing emphasis and effectiveness of Federal officials in investigating and taking action against health care providers and organizations, health care providers covered by federal false claims, referral, kickback and other health care fraud laws should consider auditing the adequacy of existing practices, tightening training, oversight and controls on billing and other regulated conduct, reaffirming their commitment to compliance to workforce members and constituents and taking other appropriate steps to help prevent, detect and timely redress health care fraud exposures within their organization and to position their organization to respond and defend against potential investigations or charges.

For More Information Or Assistance

If you need assistance reviewing or responding to these or other health care related risk management, compliance, enforcement or management concerns, the author of this update, attorney Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, may be able to help. Vice President of the North Texas Health Care Compliance Professionals Association, Past Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Section and the former Board Compliance Chair of the National Kidney Foundation of North Texas, Ms. Stamer has more than 24 years experience advising health industry clients about these and other matters. Her experience includes advising hospitals, nursing home, home health, rehabilitation and other health care providers and health industry clients to establish and administer compliance and risk management policies; prevent, conduct and investigate, and respond to peer review and other quality concerns; and to respond to Board of Medicine, Department of Aging & Disability, Drug Enforcement Agency, OCR Privacy and Civil Rights, HHS, DOD and other health care industry investigation, enforcement and other compliance, public policy, regulatory, staffing, and other operations and risk management concerns.

A popular lecturer and widely published author on health industry concerns, Ms. Stamer continuously advises health industry clients about compliance and internal controls, workforce and medical staff performance, quality, governance, reimbursement, and other risk management and operational matters. Ms. Stamer also publishes and speaks extensively on health and managed care industry regulatory, staffing and human resources, compensation and benefits, technology, public policy, reimbursement and other operations and risk management concerns. Her insights on these and other related matters appear in the Health Care Compliance Association, Atlantic Information Service, Bureau of National Affairs, The Wall Street Journal, Business Insurance, the Dallas Morning News, Modern Health Care, Managed Healthcare, Health Leaders, and a many other national and local publications.  You can get more information about her health industry experience here. If you need assistance responding to concerns about the matters discussed in this publication or other health care concerns, wish to obtain information about arranging for training or presentations by Ms. Stamer, wish to suggest a topic for a future program or update, or wish to request other information or materials, please contact Ms. Stamer via telephone at (214) 452-8297 or via e-mail here.

If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns from Ms. Stamer, see here.

About Solutions Law Press

Solutions Law Press™ provides business risk management, legal compliance, management effectiveness and other resources, training and education on human resources, employee benefits, compensation, data security and privacy, health care, insurance, and other key compliance, risk management, internal controls and other key operational concerns. If you find this of interest, you also be interested reviewing some of our other Solutions Law Press resources including:

If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns, please be sure that we have your current contact information – including your preferred e-mail – by creating or updating your profile here. For important information concerning this communication click here. 

THE FOLLOWING DISCLAIMER IS INCLUDED TO COMPLY WITH AND IN RESPONSE TO U.S. TREASURY DEPARTMENT CIRCULAR 230 REGULATIONS.  ANY STATEMENTS CONTAINED HEREIN ARE NOT INTENDED OR WRITTEN BY THE WRITER TO BE USED, AND NOTHING CONTAINED HEREIN CAN BE USED BY YOU OR ANY OTHER PERSON, FOR THE PURPOSE OF (1) AVOIDING PENALTIES THAT MAY BE IMPOSED UNDER FEDERAL TAX LAW, OR (2) PROMOTING, MARKETING OR RECOMMENDING TO ANOTHER PARTY ANY TAX-RELATED TRANSACTION OR MATTER ADDRESSED HEREIN.

©2012 Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, P.C. Non-exclusive license to republish granted to Solutions Law Press.  All other rights reserved.


$1.5 Million HIPAA Settlement Reached To Resolve 1st OCR Enforcement Action Prompted By HITECH Act Breach Report

March 13, 2012

Resolution Agreement Also 1st Announced With Health Plan

Health care providers, health plans and other covered entities beware and prepare! Reporting a large breach under the HITECH Act breach notification rules will trigger a Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Office of Civil Rights (OCR) investigation into whether OCR should impose civil monetary penalties against the reporting covered entity under the Privacy and Security Rules of the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee (BCBST) has agreed to pay OCR $1,500,000 and to take certain other actions specified in a corrective action plan to avoid civil monetary penalties for charges of HIPAA violations.  The BCBST Resolution Agreement is particularly significant, both as:

  • The first reported enforcement action directly resulting from the filing by a covered entity of a breach report required by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act Breach Notification Rule; and
  • The first reported resolution agreement reached with a covered entity that is a health plan.

These notable enforcement firsts show the HITECH Breach Notification Rule’s significance as an OCR HIPAA enforcement tool, the heightened exposure to an OCR opening a HIPAA civil monetary penalty (CMP) investigation following a report, as well as the willingness of OCR to sanction health plans as well as other covered entities that breach HIPAA’s Privacy or Security Rules.

BCBST Investigation Began In Response to HITECH Act Breach Notification Rule Report

The OCR investigation that lead to the BCBST settlement began in response to BCBST making a report required under the Breach Notification Rule of the theft of 57 unencrypted computer hard drives from a leased facility in Tennessee, which contained the protected health information (PHI) of over 1 million individuals.  Read more details here.

The Breach Notification Rule enacted as part of amendments to HIPAA under the HITECH Act requires covered entities to report an impermissible use or disclosure of protected health information, or a “breach,” of 500 individuals or more to HHS and the media as well as an annual consolidated report of smaller breaches to HHS.[1]  Along with the Breach Notification Rules, the HITECH Act also increased the civil monetary penalties (CMPs) that covered entities like BCBST can incur for HIPAA violations. When it imposed its first ever CMP last year, OCR imposed a $4.3 million CMP against Cignet Health of Prince George’s County, Md. (Cignet).

In an apparent effort to impose a potentially larger CMP assessment arising from the investigation of its breach report, BCBST greed to pay $1,500,000 and adopt other corrective actions detailed in a corrective action plan.

Enforcement Actions Highlight Growing HIPAA Exposures For Covered Entities

The BCBST Resolution Agreements, like the Cignet CMP and other high dollar Resolution Agreements OCR has announced against various health care providers highlight the significance of the HITECH Act amendments to HIPAA’s enforcement and CMP rules, as well as the significance of its Breach Notification Rule as a tool in OCR’s investigation and enforcement efforts.

“This settlement sends an important message that OCR expects health plans and health care providers to have in place a carefully designed, delivered, and monitored HIPAA compliance program,” said OCR Director Leon Rodriguez. “The HITECH Breach Notification Rule is an important enforcement tool and OCR will continue to vigorously protect patients’ right to private and secure health information.” 

The BCBST Resolution Agreement provides yet another reminder to covered entities and their business associates of the need to carefully and appropriately manage their HIPAA responsibilities. See HIPAA Heats Up: HITECH Act Changes Take Effect & OCR Begins Posting Names, Other Details Of Unsecured PHI Breach Reports On WebsiteCovered entities are urged to heed these warning by strengthening their HIPAA compliance and adopting other suitable safeguards to minimize HIPAA exposures.  Fortips, see here.

For Help With Monitoring Developments, Compliance, Investigations Or Other Needs

If you need assistance monitoring federal health reform, policy or enforcement developments, or to review or respond to these or other health care or health IT related risk management, compliance, enforcement or management concerns, the author of this update, attorney Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, can help.  Vice President of the North Texas Health Care Compliance Professionals Association, Past Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Section and the former Board Compliance Chair of the National Kidney Foundation of North Texas, Ms. Stamer has more than 24 years experience advising health industry clients about these and other matters. Ms. Stamer has extensive experience advising and assisting health care providers, health plans, their business associates and other health industry clients to establish and administer medical privacy and other compliance and risk management policies, to health care industry investigation, enforcement and other compliance, public policy, regulatory, staffing, and other operations and risk management concerns. She regularly designs and presents HIPAA and other risk management, compliance and other training for health plans, employers, health care providers, professional associations and others.   

Ms. Stamer also regularly works with OCR and other agencies, publishes and speaks extensively on medical and other privacy and data security, health and managed care industry regulatory, staffing and human resources, compensation and benefits, technology, public policy, reimbursement and other operations and risk management concerns.  Her publications and insights appear in the Health Care Compliance Association, Atlantic Information Service, Bureau of National Affairs, World At Work, The Wall Street Journal, Business Insurance, the Dallas Morning News, Modern Health Care, Managed Healthcare, Health Leaders, and a many other national and local publications.   For instance, Ms. Stamer for the second year will serve as the appointed scribe for the ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits Agency meeting with OCR.  Her insights on HIPAA risk management and compliance frequently appear in medical privacy related publications of a broad range of health care, health plan and other industry publications Among others, she has conducted privacy training for the Association of State & Territorial Health Plans (ASTHO), the Los Angeles Health Department, the American Bar Association, the Health Care Compliance Association, a multitude of health industry, health plan, insurance and financial services, education, employer employee benefit and other clients, trade and professional associations and others.

You can get more information about her HIPAA and other experience here.

If you need assistance with these or other compliance concerns, wish to inquire about arranging for compliance audit or training, or need legal representation on other matters please contact Ms. Stamer at (469) 767-8872 or via e-mail here.

If you need help investigating or responding to a known or suspected compliance, litigation or enforcement or other risk management concern, assistance with reviewing, updating, administering or defending a current or proposed employment, employee benefit, compensation or other management practice, wish to inquire about federal or state regulatory compliance audits, risk management or training, or need legal representation on other matters please contact Ms Stamer here or at (469) 767-8872.


[1] The Breach Notification Rule also requires that covered entities report smaller breaches annually to OCR as part of a consolidated disclosure.

For more tips, see here.

For Help With Monitoring Developments, Compliance, Investigations Or Other Needs

If you need assistance monitoring federal health reform, policy or enforcement developments, or to review or respond to these or other health care or health IT related risk management, compliance, enforcement or management concerns, the author of this update, attorney Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, can help.  Vice President of the North Texas Health Care Compliance Professionals Association, Past Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Section and the former Board Compliance Chair of the National Kidney Foundation of North Texas, Ms. Stamer has more than 24 years experience advising health industry clients about these and other matters. Ms. Stamer has extensive experience advising and assisting health care providers, health plans, their business associates and other health industry clients to establish and administer medical privacy and other compliance and risk management policies, to health care industry investigation, enforcement and other compliance, public policy, regulatory, staffing, and other operations and risk management concerns. She regularly designs and presents HIPAA and other risk management, compliance and other training for health plans, employers, health care providers, professional associations and others.   

Ms. Stamer also regularly works with OCR and other agencies, publishes and speaks extensively on medical and other privacy and data security, health and managed care industry regulatory, staffing and human resources, compensation and benefits, technology, public policy, reimbursement and other operations and risk management concerns.  Her publications and insights appear in the Health Care Compliance Association, Atlantic Information Service, Bureau of National Affairs, World At Work, The Wall Street Journal, Business Insurance, the Dallas Morning News, Modern Health Care, Managed Healthcare, Health Leaders, and a many other national and local publications.   For instance, Ms. Stamer for the second year will serve as the appointed scribe for the ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits Agency meeting with OCR.  Her insights on HIPAA risk management and compliance frequently appear in medical privacy related publications of a broad range of health care, health plan and other industry publications Among others, she has conducted privacy training for the Association of State & Territorial Health Plans (ASTHO), the Los Angeles Health Department, the American Bar Association, the Health Care Compliance Association, a multitude of health industry, health plan, insurance and financial services, education, employer employee benefit and other clients, trade and professional associations and others.

You can get more information about her HIPAA and other experience here.

If you need assistance with these or other compliance concerns, wish to inquire about arranging for compliance audit or training, or need legal representation on other matters please contact Ms. Stamer at (469) 767-8872 or via e-mail here.

If you need help investigating or responding to a known or suspected compliance, litigation or enforcement or other risk management concern, assistance with reviewing, updating, administering or defending a current or proposed employment, employee benefit, compensation or other management practice, wish to inquire about federal or state regulatory compliance audits, risk management or training, or need legal representation on other matters please contact Ms Stamer here or at (469) 767-8872.

Other Recent Updates & Resources

If you found this information of interest, you also may be interested in the following recent updates on health care, health plan and employee benefits, human resources and other risk management and compliance matters.  Recent examples on health care compliance and risk management matters include:

For additional resources and publications training materials by Ms. Stamer, see here.  

If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns, please be sure that we have your current contact information – including your preferred e-mail – by creating or updating your profile here. For important information concerning this communication click here.  If you do not wish to receive these updates in the future, send an e-mail with the word “Remove” in the Subject to here.

©2012 Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, P.C. nonexclusive license to republish granted to Solutions Law Press, Inc.  All other rights reserved.


[*] The Breach Notification Rule also requires that covered entities report smaller breaches annually to OCR as part of a consolidated disclosure.


Comment Period Extended To 3/21 On Proposed Extension Of Minimum Wage, Overtime To In-Home Caregivers

March 9, 2012
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has extended until March 12 the comment period for its proposed rule to provide minimum wage and overtime protections for nearly 2 million workers who provide in-home care services. See here.

In December, 2011, the WHD published a proposed rule that would expand minimum wage and overtime protections to all home care workers employed by third parties, such as staffing agencies. It also would clarify that individuals performing skilled in-home care work are entitled to minimum wage and overtime pay. However, individuals engaged by families for true companionship or fellowship activities, such as visiting with friends or pursuing hobbies, still would be considered “companions” and not be required to meet the act’s labor standards provisions. See Notice of Proposed Rulemaking[1] (NPRM). 

Among other things, the NPRM proposes to revise the companionship and live-in worker regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA):

  • To more clearly define the tasks that may be performed by an exempt companion;
  • To limit the companionship exemption to companions employed only by the family or household using the services; and
  • To provide that third party employers, such as in-home care staffing agencies, could not claim the companionship exemption or the overtime exemption for live-in domestic workers, even if the employee is jointly employed by the third party and the family or household.

When Congress expanded protections to “domestic service” workers in 1974, it exempted casual babysitters and companions for the aged and inform from both the minimum wage and overtime pay requirements of the FLSA and exempted live-in domestic workers from the overtime pay requirement only. While WHD has left regulations governing this exemption substantially unchanged since first issued in 1975, it now believes the in-home care service industry. workers employed by in-home care staffing agencies are not the workers that Congress envisioned in enacting the companionship exemption (i.e., neighbors performing elder sitting).

As a result of these determines, WHD is moving to modify its existing rules to broaden protections for professionally employed home care workers as well as outreaching to inform employers and workers about the requirements that it perceives employers of these workers must meet.  

The proposed tightening of regulations for home health workers follows a general toughening by WHD of its regulation and enforcement of wage and hour laws in the health care industry.  See, e.g. Home health care company in Dallas agrees to pay 80 nurses more than $92,000 in back wages following US Labor Department investigation; US Department of Labor secures nearly $62,000 in back overtime wages for 21 health care employees in Pine Bluff, Ark.; US Department of Labor initiative targeted toward increasing FLSA compliance in New York’s health care industry; US Department of Labor initiative targeted toward residential health care industry in Connecticut and Rhode Island to increase FLSA compliance; Partners HealthCare Systems agrees to pay 700 employees more than $2.7 million in overtime back wages to resolve U.S. Labor Department lawsuit; US Labor Department sues Kentucky home health care provider to obtain more than $512,000 in back wages and damages for 22 employees; and Buffalo, Minn.-based home health care provider agrees to pay more than $150,000 in back wages following US Labor Department investigation.

Many have expressed concerns about the potential added costs that changes proposed in the NPRM would trigger in providing in home health and companion care for aging and disabled family members.   The extension of the comment deadline provides added time for members of the public concerned about these rules to share their input.

Whether or not the proposed rule is adopted, the growing aggressiveness of the WHD and private plaintiffs to bring actions against employers violating minimum wage and overtime rules means health care and others employing home care workers should take well-documented steps to manage their risks.  These employers should both confirm the adequacy of their practices under existing rules, as well as evaluate and begin preparing to respond to the proposed modifications to these rules.  In both cases, employers of home care or other health care workers are encouraged to critically evaluate their classification or workers, both with respect to their status as employees versus contractor or leased employees, as well as their characterization as exempt versus non-exempt for wage and hour law purposes.  In addition, given the nature of the scheduled frequently worked by home care givers, their employers also generally should pay particular attention to the adequacy of practices for recordkeeping.

For More Information Or Assistance

If you need assistance reviewing or responding to these or other health care related workforce, risk management, compliance, enforcement or management concerns, the author of this update, attorney Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, may be able to help. Vice President of the North Texas Health Care Compliance Professionals Association, Past Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Section and the former Board Compliance Chair of the National Kidney Foundation of North Texas, Ms. Stamer has more than 24 years experience advising health industry clients about these and other matters. Her experience includes advising hospitals, nursing home, home health, rehabilitation and other health care providers and health industry clients to establish and administer compliance and risk management policies; prevent, conduct and investigate, and respond to peer review and other quality concerns; and to respond to Board of Medicine, Department of Aging & Disability, Drug Enforcement Agency, OCR Privacy and Civil Rights, HHS, DOD and other health care industry investigation, enforcement and other compliance, public policy, regulatory, staffing, and other operations and risk management concerns.

A popular lecturer and widely published author on health industry concerns, Ms. Stamer continuously advises health industry clients about compliance and internal controls, workforce and medical staff performance, quality, governance, reimbursement, and other risk management and operational matters. Ms. Stamer also publishes and speaks extensively on health and managed care industry regulatory, staffing and human resources, compensation and benefits, technology, public policy, reimbursement and other operations and risk management concerns. Her presentations and programs include How to Ensure That Your Organization Is In Compliance With Regulations Governing Discrimination, as well as a wide range of other workshops, programs and publications on discrimination and cultural diversity, as well as a broad range of compliance, operational and risk management, and other health industry matters.

Her insights on these and other related matters appear in the Health Care Compliance Association, Atlantic Information Service, Bureau of National Affairs, The Wall Street Journal, Business Insurance, the Dallas Morning News, Modern Health Care, Managed Healthcare, Health Leaders, and a many other national and local publications.  You can get more information about her health industry experience here. If you need assistance responding to concerns about the matters discussed in this publication or other health care concerns, wish to obtain information about arranging for training or presentations by Ms. Stamer, wish to suggest a topic for a future program or update, or wish to request other information or materials, please contact Ms. Stamer via telephone at (214) 452-8297 or via e-mail here.

If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns from Ms. Stamer, see  here.

About Solutions Law Press

Solutions Law Press™ provides business risk management, legal compliance, management effectiveness and other resources, training and education on human resources, employee benefits, compensation, data security and privacy, health care, insurance, and other key compliance, risk management, internal controls and other key operational concerns. If you find this of interest, you also be interested reviewing some of our other Solutions Law Press resources including:

If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns, please be sure that we have your current contact information – including your preferred e-mail – by creating or updating your profile here. For important information concerning this communication click here. 

THE FOLLOWING DISCLAIMER IS INCLUDED TO COMPLY WITH AND IN RESPONSE TO U.S. TREASURY DEPARTMENT CIRCULAR 230 REGULATIONS.  ANY STATEMENTS CONTAINED HEREIN ARE NOT INTENDED OR WRITTEN BY THE WRITER TO BE USED, AND NOTHING CONTAINED HEREIN CAN BE USED BY YOU OR ANY OTHER PERSON, FOR THE PURPOSE OF (1) AVOIDING PENALTIES THAT MAY BE IMPOSED UNDER FEDERAL TAX LAW, OR (2) PROMOTING, MARKETING OR RECOMMENDING TO ANOTHER PARTY ANY TAX-RELATED TRANSACTION OR MATTER ADDRESSED HEREIN.

©2012 Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, P.C.  Non-exclusive license to republish granted to Solutions Law Press.  All other rights reserved.


2 Doctors, 4 Nurses Join 11 Defendants Charged in $20M Home Health Fraud, Kickback, Money Laundering & Tax Evasion Sting

March 8, 2012

Federal officials continued their battle against health care fraud in the home health care industry, federal prosecutors added two physicians and four registered nurses to the growing list of defendants indicted for their participation in what federal prosecutors claim was a Chicago area home health care fraud scam that allegedly swindled Medicare of at least $20 million over five years.  The Justice Department’s announcement of the new Chicago indictments follows their February 28, 2012 announcement of indictments against a Dallas-area physician, his medical practice office manager and five home health agency owners on charges of submitting more than $375 million in fraudulent Medicare claims for home health services.

Chicago Home Health Fraud Sting

With the new indictments announced in Chicago today, a total of 12 defendants are now face federal criminal charges in connection with a health care fraud investigation into the operations of two suburban Chicago home health care businesses operated by the initial defendant, Jacinto “John” Gabriel, Jr.  Federal officials charge that 9 of the 11 new defendants allegedly conspired with Gabriel to bill millions of dollars in false claims for reimbursement of home health care services purportedly provided to Medicare beneficiaries, which federal official allege never were provided or were not medically necessary. Prosecutors claim Gabriel and his co-schemers allegedly used the proceeds for various purposes, including: using cash to gamble at casinos in the Chicago area and Las Vegas, and to buy automobiles, jewelry and real estate in the United States and the Philippines; to perpetuate the businesses by paying his employees and providing them with gifts, and to bribe physicians and pay kickbacks to others in exchange for patient referrals.

Gabriel, who has no formal medical training, medical degrees, or licenses to practice as a health care professional, initially was arrested and charged alone in a 15-count indictment last summer.  Following the issuance of a superseding indictment on March 7, he now is charged with one count of health care fraud conspiracy, 43 counts of health care fraud, 11 counts of money laundering, and four counts of federal income tax evasion. 

According to the indictment, Gabriel did not identify himself as an owner, but in fact exercised ownership and control over Perpetual Home Health, Inc., based in Oak Forest, and Legacy Home Healthcare Services, which was located on the city’s north side. Both firms now have ceased operating and no longer receive Medicare payments. Between May 2006 and January 2011, federal prosecutors allege Perpetual submitted more than 14,000 Medicare claims seeking reimbursement for services allegedly provided to beneficiaries. As a result of those claims, Perpetual received more than $38 million in Medicare payments. Between 2008 and January 2011, Legacy submitted more than 2,000 claims for Medicare reimbursement and received more than $6 million. Neither Perpetual nor Legacy had any sources of revenue other than Medicare funds, the indictment states.

In addition to the charges against Gabriel, the 69-count superseding indictment returned March 7, 2012 by a federal grand jury charges:

  • Jassy Gabriel, Gabriel’s brother, the nominal majority owner of Perpetual and its president, as well as a registered nurse faces one count of health care fraud conspiracy and one count of filing a false federal income tax return;
  • Stella Lubaton, a registered nurse who was  minority owner, officer and administrator of Perpetual with one count of health care fraud conspiracy, 16 counts of health care fraud, one count of filing a false federal income tax return, and one count of violating the medical anti-kickback statute;
  • Nessli Reyes, a registered nurse who was President and a part-owner of Legacy with one count of health care fraud conspiracy and nine counts of health care fraud;
  • Charito Dela Torre, a physician charged with one count of health care fraud conspiracy, 12 counts of health care fraud, and three counts of federal income tax evasion;
  • Ricardo Gonzales, a physician charged with one count of health care fraud conspiracy, 19 counts of health care fraud, and one count of violating the medical anti-kickback statute;
  • Rosalie Gonzales, a registered nurse and Ricardo Gonzales’ daughter, charged with one count of violating the medical anti-kickback statute;
  • Perpetual data entry employees James Davis, Francis Galang, and Michael Pacis each face one count each of health care fraud conspiracy;
  • Regelina “Queenie” David,a Perpetual quality assurance employee, faces charges of one count of health care fraud conspiracy;
  • Kennedy Lomillo, who provided bookkeeping and payroll services to Perpetual and prepared a corporate tax return for Perpetual, as well as an individual return for Lubaton, was charged with two counts of aiding and abetting the preparation of false income tax returns; and
  • The indictment also seeks forfeiture of $20 million against the Gabriel brothers and Lubaton.

Federal officials charge that as part of the conspiracy, Gabriel, acting in various combinations with the nine co-conspirator, allegedly obtained personal information of Medicare beneficiaries to bill Medicare without the beneficiaries’ knowledge or consent; paid bribes and kickbacks in cash and by check, directly and indirectly, to physicians and others in exchange for referrals of patients to Perpetual and Legacy; created false patient files to support fraudulent Medicare claims and submitted false claims based on those records; used Medicare proceeds to pay themselves and others who assisted in carrying out the scheme; and concealed the fraud proceeds by directing Perpetual and Legacy to issue checks payable to fictitious entities, John Gabriel’s friends and associates.

Among other details, the indictment alleges that John and Jassy Gabriel, Lubaton, and Reyes authorized Perpetual and Legacy to pay various amounts, ranging between $200 and $800, to employees and others, including indirectly to Ricardo Gonzales, for each patient they referred and enrolled in home health care services. John Gabriel and others also cold-called Medicare beneficiaries to try to persuade them to enroll with Perpetual and Legacy.

As part of allegedly falsifying patient records, John Gabriel directed Perpetual and Legacy employees, including Davis, Galang, and Pacis, to systematically complete standard forms by listing the same false diagnoses, including arthropathy (joint disease) and hypertension, which enabled them to claim a higher level of Medicare reimbursement, according to the charges.

In addition to the fraud counts, the money laundering charges allege that between October and December 2010, Gabriel cashed 11 checks in amounts under $10,000 — usually $9,000 and all involving fraud proceeds — to avoid federal currency transaction reporting requirements.

The four tax evasion counts against John Gabriel allege that for calendar years 2006 through 2009, he failed to pay taxes totaling approximately $889,062 on gross income totaling more than $2.82 million. The three tax evasion counts against Dela Torre allege that for calendar years 2005 through 2007, she failed to pay taxes totaling approximately $158,405 on gross income totaling more than $560,000.

Lubaton was charged with filing a false tax return for 2007 for allegedly failing to report all of her income, which was in excess of the $546,442 that she reported, and Lomillo was charged with aiding and abetting the preparation of her false return. Jassy Gabriel was charged with filing a false tax return for 2007 for allegedly failing to report all of his adjusted gross income, which exceeded the $603,974 that he reported, and Lomillo was charged with aiding and abetting the preparation of his false return.

Health care fraud conspiracy and each count of health care fraud carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000, or an alternate fine totaling twice the loss or twice the gain, whichever is greater, as well as mandatory restitution. Each count of money laundering carries a maximum 20-year prison term and a maximum fine of $500,000. Violating the medical anti-kickback statute carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Each count of tax evasion carries a five-year maximum prison term, while each count of filing a false income tax return carries a three-year maximum, and a $250,000 fine. In addition, defendants convicted of tax offenses must pay the costs of prosecution and remain liable for any and all back taxes, as well as a potential civil fraud penalty of 75 percent of the underpayment plus interest. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.

HEAT Task Force Honing In On Home Health Care Fraud

In recent months, federal health care fraud investigators have used statistical profiling and other tools to find and target fraudulent practices in the home health industry.  The Chicago indictments announced March 8 follow the Justice Department’s February 28, 2012 indictment of a Dallas-area physician, the office manager of his medical practice, and five home health agency owners for involvement in a home health care fraud conspiracy that federal prosecutors allege defrauded Medicare of $375 million. Justice Department officials say the conduct charged in the Dallas indictment represents the single largest fraud amount orchestrated by one doctor in the history of the HEAT initiative. Both the Chicago and Dallas indictments resulted from the efforts of Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations conducted by the Health Care Fraud Prevention & Enforcement Action Team (HEAT).  HEAT is a joint initiative announced in May 2009 between the Department of Justice and HHS to focus their efforts to prevent and deter fraud and enforce anti-fraud laws around the country.  Federal prosecutors and investigators credit statistical profiling and other new tools in their fraud detection and enforcement efforts. See, e.g., Data Mining, Statistical Profiling Play Key Role In Arrest of Dallas Doctor, Office Manager & 5 Home Health Agency Owners.

These home health care fraud prosecutions are part of the ongoing and expanding Federal health care fraud enforcement effort that Federal officials credit with having recovered nearly $4.1 billion in taxpayer dollars in Fiscal Year (FY) 2011. See FY 2011 Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control Program Report. The Justice Department and HHS credit this fraud investigation and enforcement success to their vigorous use of enhanced fraud investigation and enforcement tools created under the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (Affordable Care Act) and other recently enacted laws.  The continuing success of these and other federal health care fraud investigation and enforcement efforts continue to prove the need for health care providers and payers to strengthen their compliance practices and documentation to avoid getting caught in the ever tightening health care fraud dragnet.

Act To Manage Risks

In response to the growing emphasis and effectiveness of Federal officials in investigating and taking action against health care providers and organizations, health care providers covered by federal false claims, referral, kickback and other health care fraud laws should consider auditing the adequacy of existing practices, tightening training, oversight and controls on billing and other regulated conduct, reaffirming their commitment to compliance to workforce members and constituents and taking other appropriate steps to help prevent, detect and timely redress health care fraud exposures within their organization and to prepare their organization to respond and defend against potential investigations or charges.

For More Information Or Assistance

If you need assistance reviewing or responding to these or other health care related risk management, compliance, enforcement or management concerns, the author of this update, attorney Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, may be able to help. Vice President of the North Texas Health Care Compliance Professionals Association, Past Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Section and the former Board Compliance Chair of the National Kidney Foundation of North Texas, Ms. Stamer has more than 24 years experience advising health industry clients about these and other matters. Her experience includes advising hospitals, nursing home, home health, rehabilitation and other health care providers and health industry clients to establish and administer compliance and risk management policies; prevent, conduct and investigate, and respond to peer review and other quality concerns; and to respond to Board of Medicine, Department of Aging & Disability, Drug Enforcement Agency, OCR Privacy and Civil Rights, HHS, DOD and other health care industry investigation, enforcement and other compliance, public policy, regulatory, staffing, and other operations and risk management concerns.

A popular lecturer and widely published author on health industry concerns, Ms. Stamer continuously advises health industry clients about compliance and internal controls, workforce and medical staff performance, quality, governance, reimbursement, and other risk management and operational matters. Ms. Stamer also publishes and speaks extensively on health and managed care industry regulatory, staffing and human resources, compensation and benefits, technology, public policy, reimbursement and other operations and risk management concerns. Her presentations and programs include How to Ensure That Your Organization Is In Compliance With Regulations Governing Discrimination, as well as a wide range of other workshops, programs and publications on discrimination and cultural diversity, as well as a broad range of compliance, operational and risk management, and other health industry matters.

Her insights on these and other related matters appear in the Health Care Compliance Association, Atlantic Information Service, Bureau of National Affairs, The Wall Street Journal, Business Insurance, the Dallas Morning News, Modern Health Care, Managed Healthcare, Health Leaders, and a many other national and local publications.  You can get more information about her health industry experience here. If you need assistance responding to concerns about the matters discussed in this publication or other health care concerns, wish to obtain information about arranging for training or presentations by Ms. Stamer, wish to suggest a topic for a future program or update, or wish to request other information or materials, please contact Ms. Stamer via telephone at (214) 452-8297 or via e-mail here.

If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns from Ms. Stamer, see  here.

About Solutions Law Press

Solutions Law Press™ provides business risk management, legal compliance, management effectiveness and other resources, training and education on human resources, employee benefits, compensation, data security and privacy, health care, insurance, and other key compliance, risk management, internal controls and other key operational concerns. If you find this of interest, you also be interested reviewing some of our other Solutions Law Press resources including:

If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns, please be sure that we have your current contact information – including your preferred e-mail – by creating or updating your profile here. For important information concerning this communication click here. 

THE FOLLOWING DISCLAIMER IS INCLUDED TO COMPLY WITH AND IN RESPONSE TO U.S. TREASURY DEPARTMENT CIRCULAR 230 REGULATIONS.  ANY STATEMENTS CONTAINED HEREIN ARE NOT INTENDED OR WRITTEN BY THE WRITER TO BE USED, AND NOTHING CONTAINED HEREIN CAN BE USED BY YOU OR ANY OTHER PERSON, FOR THE PURPOSE OF (1) AVOIDING PENALTIES THAT MAY BE IMPOSED UNDER FEDERAL TAX LAW, OR (2) PROMOTING, MARKETING OR RECOMMENDING TO ANOTHER PARTY ANY TAX-RELATED TRANSACTION OR MATTER ADDRESSED HEREIN.

©2012 Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, P.C.  Non-exclusive license to republish granted to Solutions Law Press.  All other rights reserved.


States Medicaid & Other Health Care Fraud Enforcement Successes Continue

March 7, 2012

Amid all the heavy media coverage on the role of the Federal Health Care Fraud Prevention & Enforcement Action Team (HEAT) and other federal officials in high-profile health care fraud enforcement actions the arrest last week of Dallas area physician Jacques Roy and others for their alleged involvement in a $375 million home health care fraud scheme, the growing role and success of the Medicaid and other health care fraud enforcement efforts by state attorney generals and other state authorities often to goes relatively unreported and largely unnoticed.

Often receiving much less media attention, the record makes clear that states also are key players in the war against health care fraud.   The indictments and convictions resulting from these state Medicaid and other health care fraud task forces target both providers and beneficiaries. For instance:

  • On March 2, 2012; Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt charged a father and son with Medicaid fraud.
  • On February 29, 2012, the Pennsylvania Attorney General announced the arrest of a former Bradford County social worker on charges of using eight different schemes to defraud Medical Assistance and private insurance companies out of more than $100,000.
  • On February 29, 2012, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced the arrest of a home health aid Clifford Edouard on charges with defrauding the Florida Medicaid program out of more than $35,000.
  • On February 28, 2012, New York Attorney General A.G. Scheiderman announced his office had obtained Medicaid fraud settlements totaling $28 from Dava Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and KV Pharmaceutical Company.   Dava was charged with misclassifying drugs to evade paying its obligations to Medicaid, while KV was charged with improperly billing government programs for  two unapproved drugs did not qualify for coverage under federal and state health care programs.
  • On February 24, 2012, Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced that nurse Hellen Njeri Ngatia, 43, and her daughter pled guilty to improperly billing Medicaid for providing nursing services for a seriously ill 16-month-old infant when the child was in fact cared was provided by her unlicensed daughter.
  • On February 24, 2012,  New Hampshire Attorney General Michael A. Delaney secured an indictment against Tracy Eiserman on charges of theft by deception for allegedly stealing more than $4,300 from MAS Home Care (“MAS”), a provider of home health aide services to disabled adults.
  • On February 23, 2012, a Seattle woman was sentenced for Medicaid fraud after she plead guilty to First Degree Theft and filing a Medicaid False Statement stemming from home care services provided to her brother.
  • On February 21, 2012; the Kansas Attorney General secured Medicaid fraud and forgery convictions against a Junction City woman.
  • On February 17, 2012, an Oklahoma court sentenced an Enid couple that plead guilty to Medicaid Fraud charges brought by Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt.
  • On February 16, 2012, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced that Suzanne Benizio, the alleged ringleader of an illegal prescription drug operation charged with forging more than 250 prescriptions for narcotics, like OxyContin and Roxicodone was sentenced to two consecutive sentences totaling four to eight years in state prison and ordered to repay the New York State Medicaid program over $200,000 after pleading guilty to Forgery.
  • On February 14, 2012, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt announced that an Oklahoma counseling agency owner, director and therapist were sentenced to a 10-year deferred sentence and ordered to pay $14,012 in restitution for Medicaid fraud. 
  • On February 14, 2012,  Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell announced his Medicaid Fraud Control Unit secured grand jury indictments  against the owner of a personal care attendant business for participating in a conspiracy to forge CPR and First Aid training certification documents for his employees. The same day, Attorney General Caldwell also announced grand jury indictments against the owners of a Hammond personal care business and their family members for their role in operating a criminal enterprise designed to siphon dollars from the Louisiana Medicaid Program.
  • On February 9, 2012, a DeKalb County Jury found Janine Wright, a speech therapist from Stone Mountain, guilty of defrauding the Georgia Medicaid program on charges brought by that the Georgia Attorney General’s office.
  • On February 7, 2012, Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell announced his office has recovered $25.2 million from five pharmaceutical companies that he sued alleging unlawful inflation of drug costs paid by Louisiana taxpayers through the Medicaid program.
  • On February 1, 2012,  DeAngelo Henderson was sentenced  to 12 to 48 months in prison and ordered to repay $336,000 in restitution, penalties, and costs in a Medicaid fraud case involving Golden Heart Medical Supply brought b y Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto.
  • On February 2, 2012, New Jersey  Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced that the owner of a now-defunct Newark mental health and substance abuse counseling center was convicted of defrauding Medicaid.

To learn more details about these and other state health care fraud actions, see here.

Prompted by the need to managing burgeoning state health care program budgets and the conditions of participation in Medicaid and other programs receiving federal funds to administer fraud detection and enforcement efforts,
these and a growing list of other state initiated or involved health care fraud convictions reflect the growing emphasis and effectiveness of State attorneys general and other state officials on detecting and prosecuting Medicaid and other health care fraud.

Health Care Providers Must Act To Manage Risks

The continuing success of these and other federal health care fraud investigation and enforcement efforts are adding new pressure on health care providers and others to strengthen their compliance practices and documentation to avoid getting caught in the ever tightening health care fraud dragnet.  When designing and administering these efforts, health care providers and others need to take into account and be prepared to survive scrutiny from federal or state officials alone, or increasingly acting as a well-coordinated team.

In response to the growing emphasis and effectiveness of Federal and state officials in investigating and taking action against health care providers and organizations, health care providers covered by federal false claims, referral, kickback and other health care fraud laws should consider auditing the adequacy of existing practices, tightening training, oversight and controls on billing and other regulated conduct, reaffirming their commitment to compliance to workforce members and constituents and taking other appropriate steps to help prevent, detect and timely redress health care fraud exposures within their organization and to position their organization to respond and defend against potential investigations or charges.

For More Information Or Assistance

If you need help reviewing or responding to these or other health care related risk management, compliance, enforcement or management concerns, the author of this update, attorney Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, may be able to help. Vice President of the North Texas Health Care Compliance Professionals Association, Past Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Section and the former Board Compliance Chair of the National Kidney Foundation of North Texas, Ms. Stamer has more than 24 years experience advising health industry clients about these and other matters. Her experience includes advising hospitals, nursing home, home health, rehabilitation and other health care providers and health industry clients to establish and administer compliance and risk management policies; prevent, conduct and investigate, and respond to peer review and other quality concerns; and to respond to Board of Medicine, Department of Aging & Disability, Drug Enforcement Agency, OCR Privacy and Civil Rights, HHS, DOD and other health care industry investigation, enforcement and other compliance, public policy, regulatory, staffing, and other operations and risk management concerns.

A popular lecturer and widely published author on health industry concerns, Ms. Stamer continuously advises health industry clients about compliance and internal controls, workforce and medical staff performance, quality, governance, reimbursement, and other risk management and operational matters. Ms. Stamer also publishes and speaks extensively on health and managed care industry regulatory, staffing and human resources, compensation and benefits, technology, public policy, reimbursement and other operations and risk management concerns. Her insights on these and other related matters appear in the Health Care Compliance Association, Atlantic Information Service, Bureau of National Affairs, The Wall Street Journal, Business Insurance, the Dallas Morning News, Modern Health Care, Managed Healthcare, Health Leaders, and a many other national and local publications.  You can get more information about her health industry experience here. If you need assistance responding to concerns about the matters discussed in this publication or other health care concerns, wish to obtain information about arranging for training or presentations by Ms. Stamer, wish to suggest a topic for a future program or update, or wish to request other information or materials, please contact Ms. Stamer via telephone at (214) 452-8297 or via e-mail here.

If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns from Ms. Stamer, see here.

About Solutions Law Press

Solutions Law Press™ provides business risk management, legal compliance, management effectiveness and other resources, training and education on human resources, employee benefits, compensation, data security and privacy, health care, insurance, and other key compliance, risk management, internal controls and other key operational concerns. If you find this of interest, you also be interested reviewing some of our other Solutions Law Press resources including:

If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns, please be sure that we have your current contact information – including your preferred e-mail – by creating or updating your profile here. For important information concerning this communication click here. 

THE FOLLOWING DISCLAIMER IS INCLUDED TO COMPLY WITH AND IN RESPONSE TO U.S. TREASURY DEPARTMENT CIRCULAR 230 REGULATIONS.  ANY STATEMENTS CONTAINED HEREIN ARE NOT INTENDED OR WRITTEN BY THE WRITER TO BE USED, AND NOTHING CONTAINED HEREIN CAN BE USED BY YOU OR ANY OTHER PERSON, FOR THE PURPOSE OF (1) AVOIDING PENALTIES THAT MAY BE IMPOSED UNDER FEDERAL TAX LAW, OR (2) PROMOTING, MARKETING OR RECOMMENDING TO ANOTHER PARTY ANY TAX-RELATED TRANSACTION OR MATTER ADDRESSED HEREIN.

©2012 Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, P.C. Non-exclusive license to republish granted to Solutions Law Press.  All other rights reserved.


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