Ads 468x60px

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

11 People Charged with Medicare Fraud Ring

In Sacramento, California, 11 people, 5 of whom are doctors, were charged by the Department of Justice with Medicare fraud.

Allegedly, from February 2006 to August 2008, more than $5 million worth of fraudulent claims from people who were either not sick or dead were submitted to Medicare. The operation, which was headed Dr. Vardges Egiazarian, submitted false reimbursement claims from three clinics in Sacramento, Carmichael, and Richmond.

Egiazarian, who pleaded guilty last year, claimed that most of the clinic patients were recruited and paid $100 for each time their Medicare eligibility was used. Patients were never treated at any of the three clinics and procedures which were billed to Medicare were unnecessary and never performed.

Aside from Egiazarian and Dr. Derrick Johnson who have pleaded guilty, Dr. Alexander Popov, Dr. Emilio Cruz III and Dr. Sol Teitelbaum of Los Angeles; Dr. Ramanathan Prakash of Northridge; and Dr. Lana Le Chabrier of Santa Barbara were also indicted for conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

Along with six other people who are accomplices, if these five doctors are found guilty, they may receive the maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Egiazarian was previously sentenced in November 2009 to 6 ½ years in prison and ordered to pay more than $1.5 million in restitution.

Medicare fraud is a serious crime and millions of dollars are lost annually because of fraudulent claims. But not only are millions of dollars worth of services never rendered lost, in the end, people with Medicare end up paying higher premiums because of it.

To help prevent Medicare fraud, one thing you can do is to always check your Medicare Summary Notice (MSN) the moment you receive it. A lot of people’s Medicare accounts have been used and abused for years without them ever really knowing it because they never reviewed the procedures that were charged.

If you find a discrepancy in your account, if an item or procedure was never really performed, check with your physician or healthcare provider. While the inclusion could have been an honest mistake, if you feel that there is fraud, submit the following details to the Medicare company that paid the claim: provider's name and your identifying number; item or service disputed; date on which the item or service was supposedly performed; amount approved and paid by Medicare; and date of the MSN among others.