California Doctors Found Guilty In $8.8M Medicare, Medi-Cal Scheme
The physicians were convicted of falsely certifying that patients were terminally ill and qualified for hospice care.
Two Convicted Of Falsely Certifying Patients As Terminally Ill
Two California doctors were convicted by a federal jury in Los Angeles on Thursday of falsely certifying that Medicare patients were terminally ill and qualified for hospice care as part of an $8.8 million scheme to defraud government health insurance programs. Sri Wijegoonaratna and Boyao Huang both worked at Covina-based California Hospice Care, which federal prosecutors say billed Medicare and California's Medicaid program for unneeded hospice care between March 2009 and June 2013, when it was shut down. (Pierson, 5/6)
Los Angeles Times:
Two Southern California Doctors Convicted In Hospice Scam
Prosecutors said the scheme involved Covina-based California Hospice Care, where employees paid so-called marketers to recruit Medicare and Medi-Cal beneficiaries. The patients were assessed by nurses to determine if they were terminally ill, according to federal prosecutors.Prosecutors argued that regardless of the nurse assessments, Wijegoonaratna and Huang certified that the patients were dying, even though most were not. The false certifications were then used to submit bills for unnecessary hospice-related services, prosecutors said. "In fact, only a small percentage of patients died — notwithstanding the two doctors declaring they needed hospice care," said Eileen M. Decker, the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California. (Song, 5/6)