Thursday, April 20, 2017

26 charged in $40-million Southern California medical kickback scheme

The L.A. Times reports:
Prosecutors charged 26 doctors and other medical professionals Thursday in an alleged kickback scheme that may have defrauded up to 13,000 patients in California and netted the defendants roughly $40 million as they overcharged for medication or prescribed balms that had no known medical value.

In a joint statement, Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas and State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said the plot was spearheaded by Tanya and Christopher King of Beverly Hills, the owners of two medical billing and management companies. The husband and wife are accused of paying doctors to prescribe unnecessary medications and tests. Authorities said the doctors and the companies associated with them then masked those kickbacks as “marketing expenses.”

Nearly $40 million was billed to the insurance companies of the affected patients, who were on workers’ compensation, authorities said.

“The Kings and their co-conspirators played with patients' lives, buying and selling them for profit without regard to patient safety,” Jones said in the statement. “Patients have the right to expect treatment decisions by healthcare professionals are based on medical need and not unadulterated greed. The magnitude of this alleged crime is an affront to ethical medical professionals.”
A racketeering enterprise in the news.