Leaders of Suspended Medi-Cal Clinics Were Involved in Other Crimes
The operators of several rehabilitation clinics that recently were suspended from the Drug Medi-Cal Treatment Program have been charged with or been convicted of crimes unrelated to their suspensions, the Center for Investigative Reporting reports.
Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program (Jewett/Evans, Center for Investigative Reporting, 11/20).
In July, an investigation by CIR and CNN found that $94 million has been awarded over the past two years through the Drug Medi-Cal program to 56 clinics in Southern California that have engaged in fraudulent activities.
The $94 million represents half of all public funding for the Drug Medi-Cal program.
The investigation prompted state and local officials to launch their own probes into the program, and in August, the California Department of Health Care Services suspended Medi-Cal payments to dozens of clinics.
In addition, CIR reported earlier this month that 11 rehab centers in Los Angeles County received nearly $1.5 million from the state Access to Recovery program -- which distributes federal grants -- after Drug Medi-Cal officials documented questionable billings at the facilities (California Healthline, 11/6).
Details of New Report
CIR reports that the operators of several clinics that lost their Drug Medi-Cal funding were convicted of or might be involved with crimes unrelated to their suspensions. For example:
- Steven Proshak -- the leader of Circle of Friends Outpatient Services in Los Angeles -- has been charged with submitting fraudulent Medi-Cal claims for ambulance services;
- Dimitry Ashbel -- former CEO of Community Alcohol and Drug Treatment Foundation in Van Nuys -- was indicted on prescription drug trafficking charges while working at the clinic;
- Christopher Iruke and Connie Ikpoh -- leaders of the Arms of Grace Humanitarian Services in Los Angeles -- have been imprisoned after participating in a Medicare fraud scheme;
- Alexander Ferdman -- who took over as CEO at Arms of Grace after Iruke and Ikpoh were imprisoned -- has been convicted of participating in organized crime; and
- Hanan Islam -- founder of American Health and Education Clinics in Compton -- has been convicted of grand theft and pleaded guilty to providing a fake name on a passport (Center for Investigative Reporting, 11/20).