This is another in an escalating series of convictions for healthcare fraud that were initiated by the HEAT teams from the Departments of Justice and Health & Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. As with most of the big cases right now, this is a Home Health case, where the parties were essentially documenting visits that never occurred. The actual amount this nurse was liable for (an part of the sentence was for restitution) is $450K. There are apparently 18 other defendants in this case, hence the total fraud scheme of $13.8 million.
This should be a cautionary tale, especially for Home Health nurses. And it really doesn’t speak to the collateral consequences of a conviction in this matter. I don’t know Michigan law surrounding nursing discipline, but this would definitely lead to a revocation in Texas. In addition, I believe that this nurse will be excluded from federal healthcare programs for AT LEAST 5 years, if he can ever get reinstated. This type of a conviction is definitely as career ending situation.
Link to the DOJ announcement here, full text after the jump.
Department of Justice
WASHINGTON—A Detroit-area registered nurse was sentenced today to serve 30 months in prison for his role in a nearly $13.8 million Medicare fraud scheme, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Barbara L. McQuade; Special Agent in Charge Robert D. Foley III of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Lamont Pugh III of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Chicago Regional Office.
Anthony Parkman, 41, of Southfield, Mich., was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Gerald E. Rosen in the Eastern District of Michigan. In addition to his prison term, Parkman was sentenced to three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $450,988 in restitution, jointly and severally with his co-defendants.
Parkman pleaded guilty on June 26, 2012, to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud.
According to Parkman’s plea agreement, beginning in approximately December 2008, Parkman, a registered nurse, was paid to sign medical documentation for Physicians Choice Home Health Care LLC, a home health agency that billed and received payments from Medicare for home health care services that were never rendered. Parkman admitted to not seeing or treating the beneficiaries for whom he signed medical documentation and admitted he knew that the documents he signed would be used to support false claims to Medicare. Parkman was paid approximately $150 for each false and fictitious file that he signed.
Parkman was subsequently paid to sign falsified medical documentation and files for First Care Home Health Care LLC, Quantum Home Care Inc. and Moonlite Home Care Inc., which were Detroit-area home health care companies owned by Parkman’s co-conspirators that billed Medicare for services that were never rendered.
The four home health companies for which Parkman worked were paid in total approximately $13.8 million by Medicare. From approximately December 2008 through September 2011, Medicare paid approximately $450,988 to the four home health care companies for fraudulent skilled nursing claims based on falsified files signed by Parkman.
Nine of Parkman’s co-defendants have pleaded guilty and await sentencing. Three co-defendants are fugitives, and six co-defendants await trial.
This case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Catherine K. Dick of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. It was investigated by the FBI and HHS-OIG and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan.
Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged more than 1,480 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $4.8 billion. In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, is taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to: www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.