May 22, 2012

Home Health Director of Nursing sentenced to 97 Months in Prison

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Another person involved in a $5.2 million Medicare fraud scheme has been sentenced to prison.

 

Ezinne Ubani, former director of nursing at the Family Healthcare Group home health agency in Houston, was sentenced May 16 to more than eight years in prison and ordered to pay $2.5 million in restitution with her codefendants, according to the Justice Department. She had been convicted last May of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and two counts of making false statements.

 

The agency paid people to recruit Medicare beneficiaries so it could file claims for services that were medically unnecessary or not provided, the Justice Department stated. Ubani "falsified documents to support the fraudulent payments," the Justice Department stated.

 

Six other defendants have been sentenced, and three others await sentencing, the Justice Department said.

 

In other fraud news, Temple University and a doctor will pay almost $1.1 million after the school voluntarily disclosed improper billings, according to the U.S. Attorney's office in eastern Pennsylvania.

 

Temple University billed for services provided by residents as though they were provided by attending physicians, the U.S. Attorney stated.

 

Dr. Joseph Kubacki, the former chairman of the schools ophthalmology department, billed for services that were performed by residents when he was not at the hospital, the U.S. Attorney's office stated. He was convicted in August of 73 counts of health care fraud, 73 counts of false statements in health care matters and four counts of wire fraud.

 

The settlement also includes fraud "discovered in Temple's plastic surgery department, where attending physicians were present in the hospital at the time services were performed but were not actually present for the critical portions of the services for which they submitted claims," the U.S. Attorney stated.

 

Temple will not have to have a corporate integrity agreement overseen by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) because of the school's voluntary disclosure and self-audit and OIG-evaluated compliance structure.

 

In recovery auditor (RAC) news, RACs posted no new issues last week.

 

About the Author

 

Karen Long is the compliance product manager for DecisionHealth and oversees products that relate to fraud and abuse and HIPAA compliance for physician offices and home health agencies, and accreditation compliance for hospitals. In her almost four years at DecisionHealth, Karen also has been the compliance editor and a reporter for Home Health Line, nation's leading independent authority on home healthcare business, regulation and reimbursement.

 

Contact the Author

 

KLong@decisionhealth.com

 

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